A trilateral agreement among Canada, Mexico and the United States now pledges to achieve a goal of generating 50 percent of all the electricity in the North American continent from zero emission sources by 2025. The promise among the leaders of the three nations appears to build on current legislative, regulatory and business trends as well as the recent Paris Accord on Climate Change.
The North American Climate, Clean Energy, and Environment Partnership Action Plan, was announced June 29 at the North American Leaders Summit in Ottawa, attended by U.S. President Barack Obama, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto. The agreements are more aspirational than regulatory since they do not contain the force of law, but demonstrate where the administrations in all three countries want to invest their political capital. In the United States, the Administration is touting its Clean Power Plan as a driving force coupled with new appliance energy efficiency standards and more aggressive growth of renewables such as wind and solar to achieve the goal. The pledge also contains specific language promising “broad energy system integration” across the countries and promoting “deepened electric reliability cooperation.”
Analysts claim that the cross-border reliance on improved transmission may contain the most transformational approaches in the agreement, especially since prior agreements have been silent on this topic.
The other issue of note is that all three countries are seeking to develop unified metrics to calculate and validate the Social Cost of Carbon (SCC). This attempt to monetize the impact of releasing carbon into the atmosphere has been used repeatedly by the Environmental Protection Agency to justify benefits from various rules.