Today US President Obama and Canadian Premier Stephen Harper joined Mexican President Felipe Calderón in Mexico to discuss regional issues. On the agenda was climate change, leading to a joint statement.
Nothing really groundbreaking was in the statement–although the declaration did say that the three countries wanted to see an 80% reduction of greenhouse gases from 1990 levels by developed countries by 2050.
If I recall correctly, last month’s G-8 declaration (endorsed by Harper & Obama) had the 20%-by-2050 language, but didn’t explicitly say the base year. This is important since the US tends to use 2005 levels as its base year when discussing domestic emissions reductions.
Another element from the declaration that was interesting was a commitment to reduce emissions “from transport and include efforts to achieve neutral carbon growth in the North American aviation sector.” Aviation emissions are being incorporated in the European emissions trading scheme in 2012. I can’t recall hearing any US officials ever even discussing specific transport reductions.
Absent from the declaration was any mention of the Alberta tar sands. Conveniently, the Financial Times has an article today on an impending decision by the US State Department to allow a 1,000 mile pipeline to be built between Canada and the US to import the carbon-intensive fuel. The US postponed the deadline for making the decision last month, giving hope to environmentalists that the scheme might be dead. But a final determination has yet to be made.
The Obama Administration’s decision might give observers a bit more information as to how seriously to take declarations such as the one issued today.
Photo: Gobierno Federal