Obama and Trudeau join forces to move their countries ahead of the climate curve

Intro

The US and Canada have taken strong strides towards creating a low carbon economy, cementing a number of climate-friendly agreements today. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau – who is in Washington this week for the first official visit from a Canadian federal leader in nearly 20 years –  agreed with President Barack Obama to significantly slash dangerous methane emissions. The two leaders also pledged to implement plans for Arctic conservation and to insulate against climate-fueled damages to the region, while protecting Indigenous peoples living on the frontlines of those impacts. With the two of the world’s most influential leaders stepping up to meet their Paris climate pledges, all eyes will be on their international colleagues – especially those who also have a stake in the Arctic – to ramp up their contribution towards the ongoing transition to a 100 per cent clean energy future.

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Key Points

  • The Obama-Trudeau meeting signals a new era in climate diplomacy. Trudeau aggressively campaigned for “real change” on climate, and after ousting 10 years of Conservative leadership from office, the people he represents are holding him to his word. While Trudeau still has a lot to prove when it comes to his position on pipelines, two major world leaders aligning their progressive vision for a low carbon future is another significant step.
  • With these two major leaders on board, now is the moment for the rest of the world to get on track. South of the US border, Mexico has an opportunity to get in on the action when all three North American nations strive to partner on climate later this year. Meetings at the G7 in Japan, the G20 in Beijing and China’s highly anticipated five year plan, are all other big moments for nations to cement their post-Paris climate legacy.

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  • “This broad array of initiatives herald a new day in our cross-border partnership to combat dangerous climate change and transition to a cleaner and more prosperous economy. It also will protect our shared Arctic environment while supporting the indigenous communities who call it home. We look forward to working with the Obama and Trudeau administrations to translate these commitments into meaningful actions.” – Rhea Suh, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council
  • “By jointly committing to act on the climate crisis, grow our clean energy economy, and protect our shared pristine wild places, President Obama and Prime Minister Trudeau are showing what can be achieved when neighbors work together.” – Michael Brune, Sierra Club Executive Director
  • “In Paris, world leaders made a promise to move the world beyond fossil fuels […] We intend to hold them to it and do everything we can to accelerate that transition. This problem is ultimately a race against the clock. Luckily, this movement is beginning to really hit its stride.” – May Boeve, Executive Director of 350.org
  • “Acting fast to cut methane pollution from oil and gas operations is one of the single most important steps we can take to slow temperature rise and protect the climate. We applaud the President for redoubling his commitment to U.S. climate action.  We’re in a race against disaster, and it’s time for oil and gas companies to take up the baton.” – Abigail Dillen, Earthjustice Vice President of Litigation for Climate and Energy
  • “This is arguably the single biggest, most impactful, most immediate thing we can do to slow the rate of warming right now.” – Mark Brownstein, vice president of climate and energy at the Environmental Defense Fund
  • “With this partnership, the U.S. and Canada are charting a new, ambitious vision for Arctic conservation and putting in place concrete mechanisms to drive future progress.” – Brian Deese, senior adviser to President Barack Obama
  • “The fact that this is being raised at the highest levels shows that both countries recognize the Arctic is a real, emerging priority.” – Gerald Butts, senior political adviser to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
  • “We applaud the White House for considering the communities directly impacted by fracking and for expanding the planned regulations, but one thing is certain: no amount of regulation can make fracking safe. Environmental groups and communities directly impacted by extreme extraction know the only way to protect people and our climate is to ban fracking and keep fracked gas in the ground.” –  350.org’s U.S. Policy Director Jason Kowalski

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