A promise to develop a North American strategy on methane and black carbon emissions was one of the lower-profile results of last week’s trilateral summit between Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, U.S. President Joe Biden, and Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.
The plan will aim “to reduce methane emissions from all sectors, especially oil and gas,” the White House said. “We will also focus on reducing black carbon from diesel vehicles and engines, flaring, wood-burning appliances, and shipping.”
The U.S. and Canada also “reiterated their pledge to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, to enhance 2030 greenhouse gas reduction targets, and they affirmed the Global Methane Pledge,” the statement added, a reference to an agreement signed by more than 100 countries during the COP 26 climate summit earlier this month.
That pledge called for signatories to reduce their methane emissions 30% from 2020 levels by 2030, notwithstanding recent science reports calling for reductions of 45 to 50%. During this year’s federal election, Trudeau promised a 75% methane reduction from 2012 levels by the end of the decade.
At their last trilateral summit in 2016, the three countries committed to a 40 to 45% methane cut by 2025. But the Trump years threw a wrench into the U.S. side of the commitment, and Canada dragged its feet on methane over that four-year span.
“Methane emissions and climate change in general have been less of a priority for López Obrador, who has instead sought to shore up production of oil and refined products by state-owned oil company Petróleos Mexicanos,” Natural Gas Intelligence writes. Pemex “has drawn criticism for being a laggard on natural gas flaring, methane emissions, and environmental, social and governance issues in general.”
Mexico “did, however, sign onto the Global Methane Pledge,” the industry newsletter adds.
The White House readout said Biden and Trudeau “plan to expand clean electricity, grow zero-emissions vehicles and charging infrastructure, and accelerate carbon sequestration.” Biden and López Obrador, meanwhile, discussed plans to “accelerate North American deployment of renewable energy, including catalyzing finance and technology in service of renewable energy.”
Mexico has also been in discussions with Hydro-Québec on ways of modernizing and expanding its hydroelectric facilities and transmission lines, Osoyoos Today reports.