Obama: US, Canada ‘fully united in combating climate change’

Obama: US, Canada ‘fully united in combating climate change’
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President Obama gleefully welcomed a new partner in the fight against climate change Thursday, saying the United States and Canada are on the same page.

In a press conference alongside Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Obama outlined their matching ideologies and some of the steps they've agreed to take.

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“I’m especially pleased to say the United States and Canada are fully united in combating climate change,” Obama said.

He explained that both leaders plan to sign on to last year’s Paris climate change agreement as soon as possible and to double clean energy research and development funding over five years.

They’re also on the same page on the big climate news of the day. The two countries, both experiencing booming oil and natural gas production, agreed to significant crackdowns on methane emissions. Methane is the chief component of natural gas.

“Canada’s joining us in our aggressive goal to bring down methane emissions in the oil and gas sectors in both of our countries,” he said. “And together we’re going to move swiftly to establish comprehensive standards to meet that goal.”

Both nations plan to phase out earth-warming hydrofluorocarbons, limit carbon emissions from airplanes and to do more to protect the Arctic.

“The president and I share a common goal,” Trudeau said. “Want the clean growth economy that continues to provide good jobs and great opportunities for all of our citizens. And I’m confident that by working together we’ll get there sooner than we think.”

It was one of many issues the leaders agreed on during a bilateral meeting Thursday morning, they said.

Trudeau’s leadership puts Canada much more in line with U.S. policy than it was under the previous prime minister, Stephen Harper, a conservative who was resistant to taking any big steps that could harm western Canada’s oil producers.

Trudeau took office in November after his Liberal Party took control of the parliament, ending 10 years of conservative rule.

With Trudeau in office, the United States and Canada can now set an international example together on how to reduce greenhouse gases and otherwise fight climate change, they both said.

“If we don’t agree, if we’re not aggressive, if we’re not far-sighted, if we don’t pool our resources around the research and development and clean energy agenda that’s required to solve this problem, then other countries won’t step up and it won’t get solved,” Obama said.

Trudeau agreed.

“We know that our international partners expect and indeed need leadership from us on this issue,” he said.