Are the ‘Three Amigos’ Making Headway on Energy?

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Mexico’s Enrique Peña Nieto, Canada’s Justin Trudeau and the United States’ Barack Obama met last month in Ottawa to discuss, among other issues, the threat of climate change. // Photo: Canadian Government.

U.S. President Barack Obama, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto at the “Three Amigos” summit in Ottawa on June 29 unveiled a commitment to generate half of North America’s electricity from clean sources by 2025. The three leaders pledged to cut greenhouse gas emissions from the oil and gas sector, boost the development of clean power and build new cross-border electricity transmission lines, among other measures. The pledge comes amid some controversy within the NAFTA bloc, however, as Canadian energy infrastructure firm TransCanada on June 24 filed a $15 billion lawsuit against the United States following Obama’s rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline project last year. How much collaboration can be expected from the three countries on energy policy moving forward? Do their commitments go far enough to combat climate change? What are the major roadblocks to implementing the plans announced last month? To what extent has Obama’s rejection of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline tainted U.S. relations with Canada and its energy sector?

David Shields, independent energy consultant based in Mexico City and editor of Energía a Debate: “From a Mexican viewpoint, the pledge in Ottawa is overly ambitious and goes well beyond Mexico’s commitment at the COP21 in Paris to generate 35 percent of Mexico’s electricity from clean sources by 2024. There would seem to be a contradiction between the two goals, since it will be impossible for Mexico to reach 50 percent by 2025, but I think we have to interpret that the onus will be on Canada to make this three-nation goal a reality, thanks to its vast hydropower complex. Mexico is, however…”

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