U.S., Canada and Mexico create new climate change partnership

Mon May 25, 2015 5:39pm EDT
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By Mike De Souza

OTTAWA May 25 (Reuters) - North American energy ministers said on Monday they had set up a working group on climate change and energy, a partnership designed to help Canada, the United States and Mexico harmonize policies.

The partnership does not include binding targets, but will enhance cooperation and integrate more climate change-related policies into energy discussions between the countries, Canadian Natural Resources Minister Greg Rickford said during a conference call.

All three governments said they will prioritize working together on issues, including efficiency of electricity grids, pursuing new clean energy technologies and aligning regulations to control emissions from the oil and gas sector.

The agreement comes even as Canada's right-leaning Conservative government and the Obama administration clash over the lengthy and ongoing U.S. review of TransCanada Corp proposed Keystone XL pipeline that would connect Alberta's oil sands region with the Gulf Coast of Texas.

Environmental groups have aggressively campaigned against the project, arguing that it would accelerate heat-trapping emissions from the oil sands.

Canada's government has criticized the Obama administration for delaying the decision, while U.S. President Barack Obama has questioned the economic benefits of the project, indicating he would not approve it if it exacerbates global warming.

Canada has also repeatedly pledged to introduce emissions regulations for the oil and gas sector in recent years, only to delay those plans.

In December, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said it would be "crazy" to introduce new rules at a time when global oil prices are plummeting.   Continued...