17 February 2016

A green NAFTA? Is it possible?

It isn't much but it's promising. Last Friday, Canada, the United States and Mexico signed a memorandum of understanding that could lead to a North American accord on climate change and clean energy. According to the CBC story, "This essentially kickstarts the detailed, behind the scenes work needed for a continent-wide agreement that will enable all three countries to work together on clean energy and options to reduce greenhouse gas emissions." The memo indicates that clean energy has become a top priority both for our new government and across North America.

According to Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr, "This memorandum takes the important strides we've made in recent years towards a continental approach to energy and expands our relationship in support of an even more ambitious clean-energy environmental agreement."

Environmentalists were also upbeat. Keith Stewart, head of Greenpeace Canada's climate and energy campaign, said "This is the kind of thing that has been done on trade, it hasn't been done on climate change. If this is a first step in that direction, it's a good thing." Clare Demerse, senior policy adviser with Clean Energy Canada, stated "It shows how seriously our countries will be starting to take clean energy," and added, "For years the American government has been trying to talk to Canada about clean energy and unfortunately they kept hearing back about pipelines. It was a bit of a dialogue of the deaf. Now, we are finally catching up to where our allies are, and that will make the conversation and relationship a more effective one."

Next month the Prime Minister will meet with the premiers in Vancouver to talk about a national climate strategy. The outcome of that meeting should give us a good idea of just how "effective" our end of the conversation with our two amigos will be, a conversation based on transmission lines rather than pipelines.

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