VICTORIA - Energy ministers for Canada, Mexico and the United States took another step toward enhancing North American energy security and environmental protection, announcing concrete actions on energy science and technology, energy efficiency, deployment of clean energy technologies and other cooperative projects.
The North American energy ministers met in Victoria, B.C., today where the Honourable Gary Lunn, Minister of Natural Resources, hosted his counterparts Ms. Georgina Kessel, Secretary of Energy for Mexico, and U.S. Secretary of Energy Samuel W. Bodman.
Among the collaborative efforts they endorsed was the first-ever trilateral agreement on energy science and technology - a framework designed to stimulate innovation and to share and help build capacity in all three countries. The ministers also reconfirmed their commitment to further aligning energy-efficiency standards on key consumer products, noting that recent collaborative efforts had resulted in the harmonization of energy performance standards for refrigerators, air conditioners and large electric motors.
"Whether it is developing cleaner and more efficient ways to produce and use conventional energy or advancing our knowledge of renewable energy, science and technology are fundamental to increasing energy security, sustaining economic prosperity and protecting our environment," said Minister Lunn. "With greater North American cooperation, all three of our nations can increase the potential return on our investments in energy science and technology."
"Our challenge in North America is to make the use of energy compatible with economic growth and the preservation of the environment. Basic and applied scientific research, which this agreement promotes, is a key factor in overcoming this challenge successfully," said Secretary Kessel.
"Canada and Mexico are the top energy suppliers to the United States and serve as key partners as we work to advance the energy and economic security of our nations," U.S. Secretary of Energy Samuel W. Bodman said. "Today's trilateral agreement renews our joint efforts to ensure sustainable energy development, increase energy efficiency and advance the use of clean energy technologies across North America and the world."
The ministers announced that discussions will continue to identify specific ways to increase cooperation on research and development and to reduce barriers to the deployment of new technologies in a wide variety of areas, including biofuels, gas hydrates, hydrogen, carbon capture and storage, clean coal and electricity transmission. To further these efforts Canada, the U.S. and Mexico will exchange scientific and technical personnel in order to participate in joint studies and projects.
The ministers emphasized the importance of seizing opportunities in energy efficiency. They committed to strengthening trilateral cooperation on motor vehicle fuel efficiency and "standby power" consumption, and identified seven additional energy-using products as potential candidates for harmonization. Regarding "standby power" - the electricity consumed by common products such as televisions, computers, and others when not in use - the ministers agreed to support a trilateral workshop that will be held in Mexico City in September to explore possible joint approaches.
The ministers discussed the importance of continuing to increase the region's energy security, recognizing the critical contribution that an integrated energy market makes to the North American economy, representing approximately US $150 billion in trade between the three countries. While recognizing and fully respecting the jurisdictional authorities of each country, they committed to working together to further enhance the effectiveness of the North American energy market.
Cooperation on energy issues has also been a key element of discussions among the leaders of Canada, Mexico and the U.S. since 2005. Last year in Cancun, the countries' leaders renewed their commitment to trilateral cooperation on energy conservation, clean energy technologies and bringing new energy technologies to the marketplace.
The outcomes of today's meeting will demonstrate to leaders the effectiveness of cooperation by the energy ministers on energy security in advance of the North American Leaders' Summit to be held August 20 and 21 in Montebello, Quebec. Energy will continue to be one of the important issues for the leaders at their meeting.
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