Skip to content

Canada, United States and Mexico Leaders Declaration on Climate Change and Clean Energy falls short on needed changes

North American leaders released a declaration on climate change and clean energy following the recent North American Leaders Summit in Guadalajara. While the declaration affirms commitment to ‘aggressively’ address the climate crisis, it is short on the needed changes. The Council of Canadians issued a press release August 11 highlighting our key concerns with declaration.

Trade Campaigner Stuart Trew was in Guadalajara participating in public events exposing the NAFTA / SPP failed free trade model including a 1000 strong march demanding fairer trade and a press release exposing that the same false solutions and North American vision dominated the Summit.

For Immediate Release
August 11, 2009

Canada, United States and Mexico Leaders Declaration on Climate Change and Clean Energy falls short on needed changes

“While the North American leader’s declaration on climate change and energy reaffirms the urgency and necessity of taking aggressive action on the climate change crisis, it falls far short of taking the needed actions to ensure all three countries transition to low carbon economies,” says Andrea Harden-Donahue, Energy Campaigner with the Council of Canadians.  Instead, it has affirmed a weak long-term emission reduction target, emphasized false solutions such as carbon capture and storage (CCS), and failed to turn away from an energy integration strategy centered on fossil fuel exports from Canada and Mexico to the U.S. The declaration was released August 10 following the North American Leaders Summit in Guadalajara.

“North American governments are trying to fake climate action by subtly agreeing to carbon emission baseline years other than the international standard of 1990” says Harden-Donahue. “The Canadian government targets a 20 per cent reduction below the 2006 level which only amounts to a 3 per cent reduction below 1990.”

In Guadalajara, the leaders failed to commit to a common 2020 emission reduction target, instead duplicating the recent G8 statements with targets for 2050. There is consensus in the scientific community that in order to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, developed countries must commit to reducing emissions at least 25 per cent below 1990 levels by 2020. “Despite being one of the top priorities of the summit, we heard little more than meaningless platitudes and motherhood pronouncements on climate change from the three leaders,” declared Virginie Lambert Ferry, climate and Energy campaigner in Greenpeace Canada, currently in Guadalajara.

The declaration gives strong support to Carbon Capture and Storage.  “The Canadian and Albertan governments have tried to use CCS to help greenwash the tar sands, the fastest growing source of greenhouse gas emissions in our country, and justify ongoing expansion” says Harden-Donahue. A green light for further investments in CCS will help bolster this justification, yet the technology has not been demonstrated or proven in the tar sands, and is very expensive. There is even evidence in a report prepared for the governments of Alberta and Canada that only a small percentage of carbon dioxide emitted from the tar sands is ‘capturable.’

The declaration urged further cooperation in standards and on “clean energy” alongside further integration of energy markets. Cooperation in the context of the existing energy integration model raises a number of serious concerns. NAFTA and the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America have emphasized energy exports from Canada to the U.S.  These exports raise a number of serious social and environmental concerns. The tar sands, which comprise a rapidly growing percentage of oil exports, are the fastest growing source of greenhouse gas emissions in Canada. Further, trade rules limit the capacity of Canadian governments to intervene in energy trade — even with respect to ensuring energy security or protecting the environment — except in extraordinary circumstances.


For more information:

Andrea Harden-Donahue, Energy Campaigner, Council of Canadians: 613-218-5800

Virginie Lambert-Ferry, Climate and Energy Campaigner, Greenpeace Canada: 514-217-5438