Canada, Mexico, United States launch partnership on energy and climate

At the North American Energy Ministers meeting held in Mexico on Monday (May 25), Canada, Mexico and the United States announced the launch of an energy partnership, Reuters reported. A working group was established with the purpose of harmonizing and integrating climate change policy between the countries, enhancing regional cooperation.

During the meeting, the three Ministers – US Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz, Secretary of Energy of Mexico Pedro Joaquin Coldwell, and Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources Greg Rickford – discussed the future of the energy sector in a regional perspective.

The agreement does not contain any binding target for emission reduction, but is rather meant to bolster cooperation among signatories for a stronger integration of national climate policies. The trilateral efforts will focus on installing smart electricity grids, developing clean energy technology, improving energy efficiency, controlling emissions from the oil and gas sectors and promoting climate change adaptation and resilience measures.

The agreement follows the submission of the Canadian INCD earlier this month, in the wake of the COP21 pledges from Mexico and the United States that were presented in late March. See the list of submitted INDCs for the upcoming COP21 in Paris.

The partnership builds on the previous statement on cooperation on energy and environment that the three NAFTA partners announced in December 2014. For that occasion, a Memorandum of Understanding formalizing the trilateral cooperation was signed. Up until Monday’s announcement, the December statement was not followed up insofar Canada stalled on its UN emission bid. In contrast, early submitters Mexico and US announced on March 27, 2015 a cooperation deal, announcing a joint task force to coordinate climate policy. At that time, Canada’s Conservative government was criticized for pulling back from climate pledges.

During the conference on Monday, Canadian Minister Rickford said the agreement could result in Canada to align with the regulation cutting methane emissions in the oil and gas sectors that was recently proposed by the US, Reuters reported.

(Image: Greg Rickford, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, at the North American Energy Ministers meeting in Mérida, Mexico, May 25, 2015. Photo credit: Natural Resources Canada media room)