Center for American Progress

RELEASE: Leading U.S., Canadian, and Mexican Global Research Organizations Call for Continentwide Climate Strategy
Press Release

RELEASE: Leading U.S., Canadian, and Mexican Global Research Organizations Call for Continentwide Climate Strategy

Six Organizations from across the United States, Mexico, and Canada Unite to Propose Ways to Create a Resilient and Low-Carbon Climate Strategy at the North American Leaders’ Summit

Washington, D.C. — More than ever before, the United States, Mexico, and Canada are politically aligned on the topic of climate change. This alignment creates a unique opportunity for the three countries to launch a coordinated climate strategy to propel the shift to clean energy across the continent.

President Barack Obama, President Enrique Peña Nieto, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau meet next week for the North American Leaders’ Summit, or NALS, in Ottawa, Canada. This summit provides a near-term forum to explore and launch ambitious trilateral initiatives on climate and energy.

In anticipation of this historic opportunity, the Center for American Progress has teamed up global research organizations from across the continent: the World Resources Institute; the Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas, or CIDE; the Centro Mexicano de Derecho Ambiental, or CEMDA; the Pembina Institute; and Canada 2020.

In a report, “Proposals for a North American Climate Strategy,” released today by the six organizations, the group presents recommendations for a coordinated climate plan. These include a continentwide pledge to reduce methane emissions, a commitment to show coordinated leadership in international forums, and an agreement to consider the cost of carbon in long-term decisionmaking.

“Roughly six months after the historic Paris Agreement, we face the daunting challenge of meeting its ambitious goals,” said Gwynne Taraska, Associate Director of Energy Policy at CAP. “International cooperation will be crucial. The three major economies of North America now have the opportunity to create a continentwide climate plan that could reduce greenhouse gas pollution at home and provide momentum to the global movement to ensure a safe planet.”

“On the heels of the Paris summit and the launch of Canada’s pan-Canadian climate process, Canada has a historic opportunity to shepherd ambitious climate action in North America,” said Erin Flanagan, program director of federal policy at the Pembina Institute. “We look forward to Prime Minister Trudeau living up to his commitment to develop an ambitious North American clean energy and environmental agreement.”

“For the first time, we have the right leaders at the right time to set a consistent, continentwide approach to climate change,” said Sam Adams, director of the U.S. Climate Initiative at the World Resources Institute. “The leaders of the United States, Canada, and Mexico share a common understanding that action on climate will deliver economic benefits along with greater resilience for communities. These leaders should take advantage of this rare window of opportunity and set North America on a path to a strong, low-carbon economy.”

“The time has come to change the path of climate policy and work hard to meet the Paris Agreement’s pledges and commitments. In North America, we need to take a step forward to design a regional  platform of action not only to implement individual national climate goals but also to create a truly North American climate policy with complementary standards,” said Marcela López-Vallejo, associate professor at CIDE in Mexico. “Let us not waste this opportunity for Mexico, the United States, and Canada to become worldwide leaders of climate policy driven by ambitious goals and innovation.”

“It’s a rare thing in politics to have such alignment between our three countries on an issue as important as climate change,” said Tim Barber, co-founder of Canada 2020. “As Canada re-engages with the global community, we are hopeful about the collective progress we can make on protecting our environment while also strengthening our economies.”


In order to create a resilient continent powered by low-carbon energy sources, the organizations recommend that the three nations agree to:

  • Consider the cost of carbon in long-term decisionmaking, especially with respect to national and cross-border infrastructure investments.
  • Commit to a methane reduction goal and cooperate on reducing black carbon pollution.
  • Show coordinated leadership in international forums—from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, or UNFCCC, to the International Civil Aviation Organization, or ICAO—in order to help meet the goals of the Paris Agreement.
  • Ensure effective carbon pricing across North America by supporting national and subnational systems, sharing technical expertise, and aligning pricing instruments wherever feasible.
  • Accelerate the shift to clean energy through steps such as phasing out fossil fuels subsidies by 2020 and committing to national goals to increase renewable energy in electricity generation by 2030.
  • Develop a North American strategy for clean transportation that includes harmonization among the nations on fuel-economy standards and collaboration on the electrification of the transportation sector.
  • Strengthen resilience and equity through collaboration with communities to reduce the climate-vulnerability of low-income populations and indigenous peoples, who often face disproportionate risks from climate change.
  • Develop a coordinated forest and land use strategy to increase carbon sequestration and reduce emissions from forest conversion to other land uses.

Click here to read the report.

For more information on this topic or to speak with an expert, contact:
Tom Caiazza, Center for American Progress, 202.481.7141 or [email protected]

Kelly O’Connor, Communications Lead, Pembina Institute, 416-220-8804, [email protected]

Max Frankel, World Resources Institute, 202-729-7835/917-743-9318, [email protected]

Luis Mendoza, Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas, +52 (55) 5727-9827 ext. 2404, [email protected]

Alex Paterson, Director, Canada 2020, (613) 793-7234, [email protected]