Obama, Trudeau pledge to advance renewable energy integration as part of climate pact

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Today U.S. President Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau unveiled a joint statement outlining planned action on climate, energy and arctic leadership. The agreement between the two leaders focuses largely on implementation of the Paris Agreement, but also includes pledges to regulate existing sources of methane, but also measures specific to adaption to Climate Change in the Arctic region.

Among these broad pledges is a statement that the two nations will cooperate on clean energy. The leaders pledge to “facilitate the integration of renewables on our interconnected grids” and “jointly study, identify, and implement options for broad integration, including how to bring more wind, solar, hydro and other renewable energy online”.

The statement also includes plans to deploy more renewable energy in the Arctic. “With partners, we will develop and share a plan and timeline for deploying innovative renewable energy and efficiency alternatives to diesel and advance community climate change adaptation”, reads the joint statement.

Notably, the statement does not mention nuclear power, but repeatedly references the Bill Gates-inspired “Mission Innovation” effort, which focuses on research and development. Gates has repeatedly stated that the world needs a technology breakthrough to effectively combat Climate Change, and has ignored or downplayed the deployment of proven, existing solutions such as solar PV and wind.

The Obama/Trudeau statement also includes a pledge to advance global efforts to accelerate clean energy, and again mentions Mission Innovation and the Clean Energy Ministerial.

Oil Change International notes that promises in the two nations to phase out fossil fuel subsidies have been going on for six years, with little in the way of real progress. The publication estimates that Canada supplies $1.6 billion in annual subsidies and the United States $1.72 billion for fossil fuel production alone.

The efforts to reduce methane emissions also align with the White House’s approach of supporting a massive expansion of domestic oil and gas extraction and build-out of natural gas-fired generation enabled by hydraulic fracturing ("fracking"), while imposing stricter regulations on the process. This is in contrast to calls from environmental groups and renewable energy advocates for a more direct shift away from all forms of fossil fuel extraction and generation.