Joint Statement by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Environment and Climate Change Canada on Environment and Climate Change
WASHINGTON (April 1, 2021) — Yesterday, United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael S. Regan met with Jonathan Wilkinson, Canada’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change, in support of President Biden’s February 23rd meeting with Prime Minister Trudeau.
EPA and Environment and Climate Change Canada have a long history of bilateral cooperation, including under the U.S.-Canada Air Quality Agreement and Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, and trilateral cooperation with Mexico through the Commission for Environmental Cooperation.
Administrator Regan and Minister Wilkinson released the following joint statement, reaffirming their shared commitment to a partnership focused on renewed and strengthened actions to address our mutual priorities, with a strong emphasis on climate change and environmental justice:
The United States and Canada share a common vision: that of a prosperous and sustainable economy that will help protect the environment and health of communities across North America. The U.S. and Canada share the world’s longest border, common ecosystems, and an integrated economy. Today we recommit to working together to fight climate change and grow our economies for the benefit of all our citizens, including those most vulnerable to climate and environmental threats.
In support of the Roadmap for a Renewed U.S.-Canada Partnership announced by President Biden and Prime Minister Trudeau and building on our long-standing environmental agreements on air quality, waste management, and water quality, we will work together to accelerate policy actions based on science and evidence that support a healthy and just world for all. A healthy and just environment will help deploy cutting edge climate technologies and support our shared economic goals to ‘build back better’ from the COVID-19 pandemic by leveraging actions at all levels of government and consulting with sub-national governments, Indigenous Peoples, industry, non-governmental organizations and citizen groups.
Thirty years ago, our countries joined forces to reduce public health risks from pollution causing acid rain by signing the historical U.S.-Canada Air Quality Agreement. We worked together to cut harmful emissions from sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and fine particulates and we are continuing this close collaboration including through the Roadmap by reenergizing cooperation on emissions from the oil and gas sector. This is one of many areas where we see opportunity to accelerate concrete policy commitments to reduce emissions. With the Climate Summit on April 22 soon approaching, the U.S. and Canada have agreed to target three important areas, namely:
• Reductions in methane emission from oil and gas operations and potentially other sectors.
• Emission reductions from the transportation sector, and
• Opportunities for a cleaner electricity sector.
The U.S. and Canada committed to jointly achieve ambitious methane reductions in the oil and gas sector and other sectors. As founding members of the Global Methane Initiative (GMI) and two of the world’s largest oil and gas methane emitters, we recognize that further emission reductions are both feasible and essential to making rapid progress in fighting climate change. Through the GMI re-chartering, the U.S., with Canada as the current steering committee chair, will work together to increase domestic requirements for methane reduction and to raise global ambition for methane mitigation.
We also share the priority of making our roads cleaner by tackling vehicle emissions. Recognizing the importance of a zero-emission vehicle future, and understanding our closely connected supply chains, the U.S. and Canada commit to working collaboratively, including with sub-national governments, on stringent short- and long-term vehicle standards to improve fuel efficiency and reduce greenhouse gases from all vehicles – light-, medium- and heavy-duty.
Clean electricity is a critical component in the path to net-zero. We commit to bilateral collaboration to increase the production and use of clean electricity, including cross-border transmission.
The U.S. and Canada are committed to partnering in key international forums, including the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the International Maritime Organization (IMO). In ICAO, we will engage in processes to advance a new long-term aspirational goal in line with our vision for decarbonizing the aviation sector. At the IMO, to reduce emissions from ships, we plan to work towards achieving the ambition reflected in the Initial IMO Strategy on reduction of GHG emissions to halve emissions from ships by 2050 compared to 2008 levels.
The U.S. and Canada can be world leaders on linking nature and climate. Our countries share geography, critical habitat, key waterways, and a common desire to protect biodiversity areas for future generations.
We are proud of the ecological and economic importance of our shared natural resource, the Great Lakes. The Great Lakes contain one fifth of the world’s surface fresh water, the source of drinking water for tens of millions, and are one of the most ecologically diverse ecosystems on Earth. They are also critical to our economic prosperity and our well-being. As we approach the 50th anniversary of the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, first signed by the Governments of Canada and the U.S. in 1972, we will be reviewing past progress and current challenges and identifying future efforts to advance restoration and protection of the Great Lakes.
The U.S. and Canada commit to honoring and working closely with our Indigenous and tribal communities. We will work together through regional organizations to inclusively engage and consult with our First Nations, tribes, Alaskan Native Villages, Inuit and Métis peoples and take cooperative actions to build resilience across all communities. This includes exploring how we might address and support the needs of Arctic and Northern communities, many of which are already experiencing the existential threat of climate change. We will also act to address the concerns of tribes and Indigenous peoples about environmental integrity by taking action to limit transboundary pollution.
We welcome trilateral cooperation in North America through the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement/United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement and the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC), and recognize the importance of the U.S. and Canada’s partnership with Mexico. We intend to work closely with Mexico in setting a trilateral course to address climate change and other environmental priorities.
Together, we know that confronting climate change presents both an unprecedented challenge and an economic opportunity. Developing and deploying new climate-friendly technologies by working together, sharing information and basing policies on sound science and in partnership with the private and public sectors can help build back our economy. Supporting environmental justice policies and actions will not only broaden the economic benefits for our most vulnerable and underserved communities, it will also help them build greater resiliency.
We are committed to the health of our environment, the strength of our economy, and the well-being our shared North American communities. We know that the global climate is changing, and we join together to reach for the innovations of tomorrow, building back our economies in a way that promotes employment, sustainability, and equity.