In his election campaign, President Trump stated that he would “tear up” the Paris Accord. More recently he has criticized the Accord for imposing on the US a high level of pledge to the Green Climate Fund (GCF), an United Nations institution that finances impoverished countries to reduce GHG emissions and mitigate the effects of climate change.
He referred to this burden on the US as “unfairness”, since the Accord does not require certain countries with large economies and emissions comparable to the US to assume an equivalent level of pledges. Trump is probably indifferent to the reasons why the Accord requires the largest per capita contributions to the GCF to come from “developed nations”, such as the US, the European Union and Canada.
For many years, Canada and the US have been exploring how to put in place an infrastructure to reduce GHG emissions. Recent initiatives by certain US States and Canadian Provinces strongly suggest that a high degree of cooperation can be a basis for e.g. setting a price on carbon and other climate change measures. What is needed is a North American agreement to ensure that this infrastructure functions fairly and efficiently.
NAFTA already includes provisions that protect the common North American environment. Since President Trump intends to re-open NAFTA, the Canadian Government should put forward the need to re-focus and expand the provisions in the Agreement that protect the environment. There is no larger environmental issue today than climate change.
Before the election of President Trump, the Canadian government discussed proposals with their US and Mexican counterparts for NAFTA to incorporate a common North American regime covering energy and climate change.
President Trump may either reject such a proposal, or allow it to remain on the agenda but nitpick the issues to death, blaming Canada for its ridiculous introduction into any re-negotiation.
Given the widespread support that climate change measures enjoy in the US, Canada will benefit from a groundswell of US public opinion in its favour.
Given the unpopularity of President Trump North of the border, the Trudeau Government will increase its support from the Canadian electorate for taking this course of action .
And – what is more vital to 4RG –Canada will have acted to protect Grandchildren of the future!