Canada passed on U.S.-Mexico climate announcement: sources

Thu Apr 2, 2015 11:46pm EDT
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By Valerie Volcovici and Mike De Souza

WASHINGTON/OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada declined a U.S. invitation last week to jointly announce climate policy cooperation with Mexico, with Ottawa saying it has not yet finalized its own domestic strategy, sources from both countries familiar with the discussions said on Thursday.

On March 24, three days before the United States and Mexico announced they would partner on a high-level bilateral clean energy and climate policy task force, U.S. officials approached Canadian counterparts asking them to join the effort, three sources said.

One source said that, while Canadian officials said they were supportive of North American harmonization of climate policy, they were not yet prepared to join the continental partners.

A spokesman for Prime Minister Stephen Harper said the suggestion that Canada declined to participate was incorrect.

"This was an initiative between Mexico and the U.S. Canada fully supports continental action and looks forward to continuing to work with both the U.S. and Mexico on reducing greenhouse gas emissions," the spokesman said.

Shane Buckingham, spokesman for Canadian Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq, had earlier said Ottawa was preparing to submit its climate plan to the United Nations "in the weeks ahead" after it gets feedback from the provinces about their own emissions-cutting policies.

"Given the importance of this submission, Canada wants to ensure it has the most complete picture of provincial and territorial plans possible before submitting," Buckingham said.

On March 27, Mexico said it would cap its greenhouse gas emissions by 2026, becoming the first emerging economy to submit its climate plan ahead of a key U.N. summit in Paris from Nov. 30 to Dec. 11.   Continued...