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Media Release

JPAC calls for shift to a sustainable energy economy in North America

Experts and stakeholders at Calgary forum stress the need to reduce carbon emissions while maintaining energy security and prosperity in North America

Montreal, 2 May 2013 —The Joint Public Advisory Committee (JPAC) of the Commission for Environmental Cooperation has issued a series of practical recommendations to the top environment officials of Canada, Mexico and the United States to do more to move North America toward a truly sustainable energy economy.  The recommendations were sent following a public consultation in Calgary, Alberta, on April 24 and 25. To read the advice, click here.

Experts from industry, civil society and academia who participated in Greening North America’s Energy Economy recognized that North America is rich in fossil fuel resources, but also acknowledged the long-term danger of continuing current patterns of energy development and consumption in the region. Three clear themes emerged from the discussion:

  • The need to ensure long-term availability and security of energy throughout North America with an emphasis on energy self-sufficiency within the region,
  • The need to address concerns regarding climate change and the increasing amount of energy invested per unit of energy returned that is required to obtain fossil fuel energy resources, and
  • The need to leverage the development of North America’s wealth of hydrocarbon energy resources to help move to a prosperous, low-carbon economy.

“If experts and scientists are right about climate change, it is just a matter of time before society will naturally agree to put a price on carbon internationally,” said Mario Molina, Mexican Nobel Laureate and keynote speaker at the forum. “As this has a high probability of happening, why not get started right away and get ahead of the curve?”

JPAC Chair David Angus summed up the results of the meeting: “We went to Calgary to listen, consult and promote conversations. What we heard is that to address risks of climate change, the region must find ways to twin the development of those resources with a rapid transition to low-carbon ways to meet North America’s long-term energy needs.”

Following the meeting, JPAC called on the CEC Council (Canada’s Minister of Environment, the US Environmental Protection Agency Administrator and Mexico’s Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources) to adopt their key proposals as the Council implements the CEC’s 2013-2014 Operational Plan and looks toward future priorities under the CEC’s 2015-2020 Strategic Plan.

JPAC’s Advice to Council document, which includes a full list of recommendations and comments from participants at the Calgary meeting, is available on the meeting page. Presentations, photos and video will also be available there.

JPAC will host its next public meeting on transportation and the environment in Mexico on July 10-11. That meeting will be held jointly with the annual meeting of the CEC Council.

New Canadian JPAC member appointedEnvironment Minister Peter Kent has appointed Jacques Gauthier as a new Canadian JPAC member. Gauthier is a member of Canada’s National Energy Board and has held senior positions at energy companies including Kruger Energy and Boralex, focusing especially on renewable energy production in Canada and the United States. He served in various capacities on the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, and is currently Chair of the board of directors of the Quebec Wildlife Foundation.

About the CEC

The Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) was established in 1994 by the governments of Canada, Mexico and the United States through the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation, a parallel environmental agreement to NAFTA. As of 2020, the CEC is recognized and maintained by the Environmental Cooperation Agreement, in parallel with the new Free Trade Agreement of North America. The CEC brings together a wide range of stakeholders, including the general public, Indigenous people, youth, nongovernmental organizations, academia, and the business sector, to seek solutions to protect North America’s shared environment while supporting sustainable development for the benefit of present and future generations

The CEC is governed and funded equally by the Government of Canada through Environment and Climate Change Canada, the Government of the United States of Mexico through the Secretaría de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales, and the Government of the United States of America through the Environmental Protection Agency.

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