North American Summit Outlines Clean Energy Plan for Continent

On June 29, President Barack Obama, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto held meetings and reached an agreement for a new, ambitious clean energy policy across North America.

At the center of the energy effort is the goal to generate 50 percent of the continent’s electricity from clean resources by 2025. According to a statement issued by the White House, the nations aim to accomplish this objective through “clean energy development and deployment, clean energy innovation, and energy efficiency.” Plans include approving new cross-border transmission lines to increase capabilities between power grids, studying energy system integration across the continent, and purchasing cleaner energy and alternative-fuel vehicles for government operations. The leaders also called for a reduction in methane emissions by 40-45 percent from the oil and gas sector – as well as agriculture and waste disposal industries – across all three nations.

The North American Summit aimed to build on pre-existing relationships that the three nations have established in regards to clean energy and cross-border integration. For example, Canada currently receives 59 percent of its power form hydroelectric plants, and exports about 10 percent per year to the United States. The agreement seeks to expand on relationships like these in order to meet the continental objectives. According to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau,

This is what can happen when countries come together in pursuit of a common goal, when we have a big idea and the political will to make it happen. Today’s climate agreement stands as proof that cooperation pays off and that working together always beats going it alone.”

The goals set by the Summit are expansive, but according to the White House, they are achievable. In 2015, North America received 37 percent of its power generation from clean sources. Moreover, the United States receives 33 percent of its power from what it defines as clean sources –  13.4 percent from renewable energy, and an additional 19.5 percent from nuclear energy. While nuclear energy is not considered to be renewable, it is emissions-free, and is included in the 37 percent statistic representing North America’s clean power production. The shared belief of the nations is that if they are willing to work together to implement the agreement’s terms over the next decade, there is no reason a percentage increase of 13 points is unreachable.

 

Read more here- “Leaders Statement on a North American Climate, Clean Energy, and Environment Partnership,” (Office of the Press Secretary, The White House)

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