JUL 09, 2016 9:38 AM PDT

The "Three Amigos" and the Pledge for Clean Energy


Just two weeks ago the leaders of the US, Canada and Mexico, met at the “Three Amigos” summit in Ottawa. At this North American Leaders Summit, Barack Obama, Justin Trudeau and Enrique Peña Nieto committed to a new regional clean power goal, pledging to have their countries produce 50% of their power by 2025 from hydropower, wind, solar and nuclear plants, carbon capture and storage, as well as from energy efficiency measures.
 
Photo: cdnpoli.net
 
The commitment -- which will be a joint one, rather than an individual commitment by each nation -- represents a lofty goal given that the United States and Mexico currently rely heavily on fossil fuels for much of their electricity supply. Mexico produced less than 20% of its power from clean energy last year, though officials there have already pledged to reach 35% by 2024. Roughly 13 percent of U.S. electricity comes from hydropower and other renewable sources, according to the Energy Information Administration, with another 20 percent stemming from nuclear power plants. Canada, however, has already surpassed the goal, with roughly 59% of their electricity generated by hydropower operations, and with another 16% coming from nuclear plants.

Mexico will also pledge to reduce its emissions of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, by 40 to 45 percent by 2025. The U.S. and Canada have already set that goal for their own methane output.

“We believe this is an aggressive goal, but for all three countries, one that we believe is achievable, continent-wide,” said Brian Deese, a senior adviser to Obama.
 
 
Photo: agreenliving.org
 
A new report by environmental experts from the United States, Canada and Mexico last week urged the three countries to work more closely on their climate goals in the wake of the international accord finalized last December in Paris. “For the first time in recent memory, the national governments of the United States, Mexico, and Canada are politically aligned on climate change,” the group wrote. “The three countries should take this opportunity to explore and launch coordinated climate initiatives that could propel the shift to clean energy across the continent and-through international leadership-accelerate the reduction of greenhouse gas pollution globally.”

At the summit the leaders also announced new agreements to make it easier and cheaper to trade and transmit clean energy across the continent, Deese said.
 


Sources: The Washington Post, Reuters, The Guardian
About the Author
  • Kathryn is a curious world-traveller interested in the intersection between nature, culture, history, and people. She has worked for environmental education non-profits and is a Spanish/English interpreter.
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