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Old Friendships in a New Era

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May 26, 2022

Canada and the United States share the longest international border in the world, home to millions of people and species of wildlife. From establishing the Convention for the Protection of Migratory Birds and the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement to signing the Air Quality Agreement, we have a long history of working together to protect our planet. In 2021, Canada and the U.S. heralded a new era of cooperation on climate and the environment when Prime Minister Trudeau and President Biden signed the Roadmap for a Renewed Partnership. Through this Roadmap, we agreed to combine efforts to reduce methane emissions, to deploy zero-emission vehicles, to electrify our energy grid, and to protect our nature.

Now more than ever, we need to accelerate the transition to clean sources of energy and to increase our climate ambition. At a time where Russia’s unprovoked attack on Ukraine and President Putin’s use of energy as a weapon has exacerbated the existing global energy crisis and jeopardized our collective progress to fight climate change, our joint work is critical.

Canada is already paving the way to lower emissions by 2030 and to reach net-zero emissions by 2050. In March 2022, we announced an Emissions Reduction Plan (ERP) detailing how Canada will cut its emissions by 40% to 45% below 2005 levels by 2030. The ERP includes investments in clean energy projects, and a Clean Electricity Standard to get to a net-zero electricity grid by 2035. As the supplier of 93% of electricity imports to the U.S., when we produce cleaner energy at home, it can help lower U.S. emissions, too.

We are working on a plan to cap oil and gas sector emissions and to reduce methane emissions from oil and gas by at least 75% by 2030. This supports our joint work with the U.S. under the Global Methane Pledge, through which we have committed to reduce methane emissions by 30% below 2020 levels by 2030. Thanks to investments and partnerships like these, Canadian energy will power millions of homes and businesses on both sides of the border with fewer emissions.

The ERP also includes a new and more aggressive timeline to reach 100% sales of zero-emission vehicles by 2035. Paired with zero-emission vehicle sales targets in the U.S., we will see faster deployment of electric and low-emission vehicles across the region.

To this end, we recently finalized a joint action plan on critical minerals with the U.S., advancing our mutual interest in securing supply chains for the critical minerals needed for economic growth and security. Canada is an important supplier of 12 of the 50 minerals that the U.S. has identified as critical to economic and national security. And, with nearly $4 billion allocated to boost production of critical minerals in Canada’s Budget 2022, we have the potential to become a reliable source of other critical minerals of key components we use every day. Implementing these critical minerals strategies will build key supply chains with partners like the U.S., and help the region become a global leader in the manufacturing of EV batteries.

Canada and the U.S. must also work hand-in-glove to protect nature and its biodiversity. Together, both countries hold more than 20% of the world’s freshwater supply. Canada and the U.S. have been cooperating for decades on maintaining the health of boundary waters, like the Great Lakes. In March 2022, we celebrated the golden jubilee of the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement. To date, we have cleaned up nine of these heavily-contaminated areas. And, in Budget 2022, Canada announced new investments to support the Great Lakes, including more funding to support the Freshwater Action Plan.

Together, Canada and the U.S. can lead in the fight against climate change and help our economies diversify their energy mix toward a net-zero future. This is why Canada is proud to sponsor the Climate Leadership Conference, as a forum for sharing ideas and exploring further opportunities for cooperation.  As we enter a new era of global challenges, we will continue building on the decades of work with the U.S. to ensure Canadians and Americans alike can benefit from a healthy environment and a healthy economy for generations to come.

This article originally appeared on the 2022 Climate Leadership Conference home page.  The conference, which Canada was pleased to sponsor, was presented by Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) and the Climate Registry.

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