North America Is Set to Announce Its Most Ambitious Clean Energy Target Yet
That pledge encompasses renewables like wind and solar but also nuclear and carbon capture, and signals a growing consensus about our energy future. If acted on, it would go a long way to transitioning some of the world’s biggest carbon polluters off fossil fuels and meeting goals outlined in the Paris Agreement.
Set to be announced during the North American Leaders’ summit in Ottawa tomorrow, the North American electricity generation target applies to all three nations collectively, meaning one can fall short if the others pull additional weight. For Canada, which is already sourcing 59 per cent of its energy from hydropower and another 16 per cent from nuclear, this is basically an exercise in hand-holding. Roughly a third of US electricity stems from renewable sources and nuclear power, while just over 20 per cent of electricity in Mexico is derived from non-fossil fuel sources.
For the US, increasing the share of non-fossil electricity to 50 per cent in just under a decade is ambitious, but not impossible. Investment in clean energy is at an all time high, while the bottom is falling out of the coal market. “You can’t fight the future,” said Seb Henbest, lead author of a new Bloomberg New Energy Finance report, which came to the startling conclusion that the world is on target to hit “peak fossil fuels” for electricity generation by 2025. “The economics are increasingly locked in.”
Still, it’s hard to overstate the fact that implementation of this pledge, like many other pieces of environmental policy President Obama has introduced over the past year, very much depends on the outcome of the US presidential election this fall.