Canada, the United States and Mexico broke new ground Friday, signing the first-ever climate change and clean energy agreement in North American history.
“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,” Canadian Natural Resources Minister Jim Car said from Winnipeg, where Carr, along with is American and Mexican counterparts – had gathered and reached the historic agreement.
The agreement will pave the way for the three countries to pursue environmentally friendly measures, including low-carbon electricity, reduced oil and gas emissions and clean technologies.
It “strengthens our collective energy security” and represents “a bold vision for our continent,” Carr said at a press conference.
He was flanked by U.S. and Mexican energy secretaries Ernest Moniz and Pedro Joaquin Coldwell, respectively.
Moniz termed the agreement a “tremendous” change that shows a “revived relationship” among the three countries.
He also credited a “change of government in Canada” as a factor in reaching the agreement.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberals took power from the decade-long government of Stephen Harper’s Conservatives as a result of an election win last fall.
“The trilateral relationship is not missing a beat,” Moniz said. “If anything, I think it’s accelerating even more with the very strong Canadian commitment in the area of energy, environment and innovation.”
Coldwell addressed reporters through a Spanish interpreter.
He mentioned that the three countries have “common objectives” to produce competitive electricity rates gleaned from clean-energy sources.
The hope is that the agreement will eventually produce a continent-wide agreement in which all three countries work together on clean energy and alternatives that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Keith Stewart, head of Greenpeace Canada’s climate andenergy campaign, lauded the agreement.
“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,” Stewart told Canadian media.
By Barry Ellsworth