Canada’s hope to get climate change into NAFTA could prove difficult – Politics

A frank report on climate change in America leaked to the New York Times a week before the U.S. sits down to begin renegotiating NAFTA may give some weight to Canada’s push to get climate change mitigation included as part of the new continental trade deal.

But that, of course, would require U.S. President Donald Trump to buy into even some of what the report says, which, in short, is that climate change is real, caused by people and that some extreme weather events can now be attributed to the warming planet.

The special report on climate change by scientists at 13 U.S. federal agencies hasn’t been approved yet by the White House and was leaked by scientists who fear Trump will refuse to release it because it counters his belief that climate change is a “hoax.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said last week Canada wants climate change, reduced emissions and efforts to shift to a low-carbon economy written into the new NAFTA.

Canada, the U.S. and Mexico are to start renegotiating the 23-year-old trade deal on Aug. 16.

“We are certainly looking for a better level playing field across North America on environmental protections,” Trudeau said last week.

However with Trump withdrawing the U.S. from the Paris climate change agreement and pledging to return the U.S. coal industry to its glory days, the White House and the Canadian government are far apart on many environmental issues.

Even getting the words “climate change” into the agreement could be a struggle.

China, under President Xi Jinping, left, and the United States, under then president Barack Obama, ratified the Paris agreement on climate change in 2016 – before the election of Donald Trump, who promptly served notice the U.S. would withdraw. (How Hwee Young/pool photo via Associated Press)

Canada sees EU deal as template

A government official speaking on background told The Canadian Press last week that, on the environment side, Canada will be looking to the free trade agreement recently signed with Europe, known as the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, or CETA, as a template.

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland has referred to CETA as the gold standard of trade agreements when it comes to the environment and said she wants to push CETA’s environment chapter with the U.S. and Mexico on NAFTA.

However, several trade experts say the United States is going to be pushing for the environment chapter in NAFTA to be more closely aligned with the now-defunct Trans…

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