Fraser Forum

Three Amigos climate agreement—the good and the not-so-good

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Prime Minister Trudeau, President Obama and President Nieto have agreed on a “North American Climate, Clean Energy, and Environment Partnership.” As with many such plans, this one is a mixture of smart policies proven to work, and policies with a history of failure.

On the good side of the ledger is:

• The specific retention of nuclear power in the list of clean-energy sources
• Keeping new hydro in the list of clean energy sources
• Building more cross-border power lines to let Canada sell its abundant hydro resources to the south and help stabilize energy grids
• Phasing out fossil fuel subsidies
• Aligning efficiency and fuel-economy standards across all three countries
• Increasing R&D to find better forms of clean energy 

One can certainly quibble about whether these ideas are necessary or desirable, or whether they’ll be implemented in a sensible (both economically and environmentally) way, but compared to what’s coming on the not-so-good list, I won’t get into that here.

The not-so-good:

• Maintaining and re-affirming the Paris carbon targets
• New regulations to force down methane emissions from the oil/gas sectors on an accelerated basis
• A continued obsession with electric cars
• Perpetuating the notion that carbon capture and storage will play a major role in GHG control
• The continued pretense that massive government spending projects create massive numbers of “green jobs"

This is only a partial listing, of course, and we’ll have to see what any of this means, assuming that it isn’t all erased by the results of the next U.S. election, which might trump this partnership before it gets on its feet.

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