The brief meeting this morning between Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and U.S. President Barack Obama produced a 2,500-word joint statement and another 5,800 words of additional affirmations and commitments from the Prime Minister’s Office.
The documents released Thursday, no doubt the products of months of drafting and negotiation between Canadian and American officials, cover a wide array of continental and international concerns.
Here are a dozen of the most interesting items:
- The leaders agreed to reduce methane emissions from the oil and gas sector by 40 to 45 per cent below 2012 levels by 2025 and pursue related international commitments through the G20.
- Canada and the United States committed to reduce the use and emissions of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) and promised to “propose new actions in 2016.” The two countries also plan to provide increased financial support to help developing countries reduce HFCs.
- The leaders reaffirmed a commitment to work toward a second phase of aligned greenhouse gas emission standards for on-road heavy-duty vehicles after the 2018 model year.
- The two countries agreed to use “similar values for the social cost of carbon and other GHGs for assessing the benefits of regulatory measures.”
- Trudeau and Obama expressed a “strong commitment” to reduce emissions from international aviation, through technological and operational advancements, a new carbon standard for airplanes and by adopting in 2016 a “carbon offset measure that will allow for carbon-neutral growth from international civil aviation.”
- In the interests of North American energy security, the leaders pledged to integrate and advance clean energy and align energy efficiency standards. They will also develop a strategy for protecting the North American electricity grid “against the growing threat from cyber-attacks and climate change impacts.”
- Trudeau and Obama announced a new partnership on the “changing Arctic,” to expand the protection of land and marine areas, “more broadly and respectfully include Indigenous science and traditional knowledge into decision making,” pursue low-impact shipping routes and adopt a “science-based” approached to oil and gas development.
Travel and the border
- The two countries agreed in principle to expand customs pre-clearance for passengers to Billy Bishop Airport in Toronto and Quebec City’s Jean Lesage International Airport, as well as to rail service in Montreal and Vancouver. They will also “work to convert existing pre-inspection sites in British Columbia to full pre-clearance” and “explore the conditions necessary for cargo pre-clearance and identify opportunities to pilot this approach.”
- The two leaders agreed to establish a “Canada-U.S. Redress Working Group” to deal with complaints about the no-fly list.
- Canada and the United States will “fully implement a system to exchange basic biographic entry information at the land border … in a manner that respects our separate constitutional and legal frameworks, and protects our citizens’ right to privacy.”
- The leaders were not able to announce a new agreement on the recurring trade dispute, but officialshave been asked to explore options and report back within 100 days on how to address the issue. At the joint press conference after the leaders’ meeting Thursday morning, Obama told reporters progress had already been made and the issue would be resolved “in some fashion,” adding wryly that the eventual solution would be “undoubtedly to the dissatisfaction of all concerned.”
Trans Pacific Partnership
- The TPP is a trade deal that Obama is keen to see ratified, and one that the Trudeau government has signed on to but has also committed to consulting Canadians about. Short of jointly endorsing the deal, the White House and PMO instead reported that: “The United States and Canada share the goal of enhancing shared prosperity, creating jobs, protecting workers and the environment, and promoting sustainable economic development. Recognizing that the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which links together countries that represent nearly 40 percent of global GDP, would advance these objectives, Canada and the United States are working to complete their respective domestic processes.”