US, Canada and Mexico to produce half of the electricity from clean energy by 2025

At the North America Leaders’ Summit (NALS) on Wednesday (June 29) in Ottawa, the leaders of the US, Canada and Mexico have strengthened their commitments to combat climate change through the new North American Climate, Clean Energy, and Environment Partnership Action Plan. The major element of the trilateral cooperation is the new regional target of increasing clean power to 50 percent of the electricity generated across North America by 2025.

In order to achieve this, the countries committed to advance clean energy production and development (including renewable, nuclear, hydropower, wind, solar and carbon capture and storage technologies) and also decrease demand through energy efficiency. To faciliate the access to clean energy across the continent, the countries intend to support development of several cross-border transmission projects, such as the Great Northern Transmission Line and the New England Clean Power Link, currently proposed or in permitting review.

The new target requires additional adjustments in the three countries as the current collective clean energy production amounts to around 37 percent. The largest power producer among the three countries, the U.S, generates around 30 percent of its electricity from clean energy sources, according to the U.S. Energy Information Agency (EIA). Despite carbon emissions reduction being a priority for the Obama administration, there has been a stalemate in the US Supreme Court regarding the Clean Power Plan, which would support reaching National Determined Contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Agreement.

According to EIA, the level of clean energy production in Mexico was 24 percent in 2014, with hydroelectric power accounting for 15 percent as the primary clean energy source. Meanwhile, the largest share of hydroelectricity in the world (60 percent of total electricity generation) is produced by Canada, with 81 percent of its electricity coming from clean energy sources according to the national statistics published by the Government of Canada.

Moreover, to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions, Mexico has joined the US and Canada in committing to decrease methane emissions from the oil and gas sector by 40-45 percent by 2025, target agreed upon in Washington earlier this year. The new Partnership Action Plan also outlines other measures to decrease short-lived climate pollutants, such as national methane strategies, methane emissions reduction from landfills and the agricultural sector and decrease of black carbon and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). The transport sector will also contribute to reaching the goal, through accelerated vehicle efficiency, improving fuel quality and reduction of maritime shipping and international aviation emissions.

In relation to the Paris Agreement, the leaders have reaffirmed their commitment to join and implement the Agreement in 2016, and to support developing countries in their mitigation and adaptation efforts through international cooperation. By combining efforts, the three countries promised to address climate change globally through the Montreal Protocol, International Civil Aviation Organization, G-20, and other international forums.

 

(Image: Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau welcomes U.S. President Barack Obama and Mexican President Peña Nieto in Ottawa,  June 29, 2016. Photo credit: Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada/Twitter)