Mexico Strikes First International Climate Deal Since Paris

  • Partners to promote emission cuts across North America
  • Move intends to support UN climate deal agreed in Paris

Mexico and the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Quebec have agreed to work together on developing carbon markets to curb greenhouse gases, marking the first international climate deal since United Nations envoys struck a pact in Paris last year.

The agreement to collaborate on pricing carbon builds on existing regional efforts to curb global warming, such as the Western Climate Initiative that includes California and Quebec, Ontario said in an e-mailed statement. Mexico is planning to pilot a carbon market later this year.

It comes as governments around the world look for ways to shrink emissions that have been blamed for temperatures climbing to record levels. This past July was the warmest in 136 years of data, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Carbon markets, which cap emissions and allow companies to trade credits for their pollution, have proliferated, with China planning to start the world’s biggest one next year.

Ontario Buyers

“To effectively fight climate change, we must work together on a global scale,” Kathleen Wynne, premier of Ontario, said in the statement. “Mexico, Ontario and Quebec are driving real progress on reducing harmful greenhouse gas emissions.”

Last year, more than 180 nations gathered in Paris to hammer out a far-reaching agreement to cut emissions around the globe.

Ontario plans to link its cap-and-trade program in 2018 to a system run by Quebec and California, North America’s largest. Polluters must start complying with Ontario’s program on Jan. 1. California, which just passed a more aggressive target for emissions cuts, and Mexico already have a joint action plan to combat climate change.

Ontario may end up buying emission credits from Mexico under Wednesday’s agreement, cutting the province’s cost of reducing greenhouse gases, Wynne said in a phone interview from Guadalajara, Mexico, where the declaration was signed.

“That will help businesses in Ontario as we go down this road,” Wynne said. “There is that self interest in creating an efficient market. It’s about moving most effectively to reduce those emissions.”

The two Canadian provinces are already working with Mexico on how to best set up its carbon market, Quebec Environment Minister David Heurtel said.

Bigger Markets

The link-up with Mexico may foreshadow even bigger and more expansive carbon markets, Heurtel said. China and some of U.S. states involved in a carbon-trading system run in the Northeast could all be candidates for future partnerships, he said.

Heurtel last week hosted a delegation from China that’s working on the country’s own market. It’s the second time in less than a year that he has discussed emissions credits with Chinese officials, he said.

China is “very interested in our approach,” Heurtel said Wednesday by phone from Guadalajara. “There’s definitely a trend towards looking at broadening the North American carbon market.”

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