By E. Anthony Wayne
Energy and Environment will be key topics when the leaders of North America gather for a Summit in Canada on June 29. Because of a closer orientation among the three governments, the leaders of Canada, Mexico and the United States have a real opportunity to think about cooperation across our continent in a new way. President Obama, Prime Minister Trudeau and President Peña Nieto can enunciate a shared strategic vision of energy security and environmental protection. That vision, already presaged when Trudeau visited Washington in March, can better align the United States, Canada and Mexico on energy and environment approaches to support prosperity and well-being in North America. If done well, such cooperation can also become a model for collaboration in other regions, as well as contribute to a more resilient global energy supply.
Mexico, one of the United States’ top energy suppliers and clients, is in the midst of a major reform of its entire energy sector (oil, electricity, gas, transmission, production, sales, etc.), which among other things opens the sector to serious participation by private companies for the first time since the 1930s. Canada, the largest U.S. energy supplier and most integrated U.S. energy partner, has set a goal forging “an ambitious North American clean energy and environmental agreement,” under new Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. The United States has developed new technologies revolutionizing U.S. oil and gas production and has committed to a vigorous set of measures to protect the environment and to support innovation of greener technology. The current period of low prices for both oil and gas has meant huge challenges but also significant incentives to improve efficiencies in all three countries, and the industry is responding by becoming leaner and more competitive.