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FACTBOX-North American cooperation on climate change
August 10, 2009 / 8:27 PM / 8 years ago

FACTBOX-North American cooperation on climate change


Aug 10 (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama said on Monday the United States, Canada and Mexico had made progress on concrete goals that will be negotiated at international talks on climate change in Copenhagen in December.

The three countries said they would cooperate on a series of measures, including building infrastructure for emissions trading systems and making the North American aviation sector "carbon neutral."

Below are a series of ways the three nations plan to cooperate, according to a joint statement released after a summit held by Obama, Mexican President Felipe Calderon and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper in Guadalajara, Mexico.

EMISSIONS TRADING

The three nations will "build capacity and infrastructure" to cooperate in the future on emissions trading systems.

Emissions trading allows companies and other entities to buy and sell permits that allow them to release carbon dioxide (CO2) or other greenhouse gases.

CARBON ATLAS, CAPTURE AND STORAGE

The countries agreed to make a "North American Carbon Atlas" to map and share data about significant carbon emissions sources as well as underground sites that could be used to store CO2.

The end effect, they said, would be a common geographical information system on carbon sources and sinks.

The countries would also work toward consensus on a methodology for estimating CO2 storage capacity.

Carbon capture and storage is still a largely unproven technology, but proponents see it as a promising way to trap carbon emissions underground, rather than letting out into the atmosphere where they contribute to global warming.

REDUCING GAS FLARING

The three countries agreed to work to "promote best practices" on reducing gas flaring throughout North America.

Burning natural gas releases CO2, a potent greenhouse gas.

SMART GRID

The three countries said they would work together on research and development for the so-called "smart grid" -- an electrical grid that would allow renewable energy, such as power generated by wind farms, to flow seamlessly to consumers. The nations will continue working to smooth "interoperability" between their respective grids on that issue.

AVIATION

The countries said they would work toward reducing emissions from the transport sector, including by "striving to achieve carbon-neutral growth in the North American aviation sector in the context of global action." (Writing by Jeff Mason)




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