On Wednesday, United States President Barack Obama, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto will meet in Ottawa for the annual North American Leaders' Summit. The meeting, commonly referred to as the Three Amigos Summit, has gathered almost every year since 2005 to discuss strategic cooperation and important economic issues. This year's meeting in particular will prove to be of high significance. The primary objective of the 2016 Summit is to develop clean power plans for each country in the continued combat against climate change. However, recent political developments may cast a shadow over this year's talks.
The communal pledge is this: by 2025, 50 percent of the three country's collective power must be produced by renewable sources, including solar planes, hydropower factories, wind turbines, and nuclear plants. Other measures that need to be incorporated are the capture and storage of carbon emissions, as well as general energy efficiency guidelines. These ambitious guidelines will present a bigger challenge for Mexico and the United States than Canada, which already produces 81 percent of its energy from renewable sources. Additionally, the United States produces three times as much power as Canada and Mexico combined, so much of the effort will have to come from their end. As of now, the United States produces a third of its energy from renewable sources. However, attempts to increase this figure often face adversary from other governmental branches; the president's proposed regulations of coal plants were put on hold by the Supreme Court. Meanwhile, Mexico produces less than 20 percent of its energy from clean energy. The nation is also behind its two partners in reducing methane emissions; Nieto is expected to pledge to this mission at the summit. Other features of the communal agreement include making trade of clean energy cheaper and easier across all three countries.
With the context of a hostile political environment, several other important issues will line the table. Nieto will most likely press Trudeau on the minister's former promise to lift Canadian visa requirements for Mexicans. The visa issue, a policy action of Canada's former prime minister, was a source of tension between the two countries that they now hope to pare. However, even larger cooperative issues will be discussed. The storm unleashed by the Brexit shook up the global economy and reflected a rising isolationist ideal in Western countries. As the sole members of NAFTA and key participants in the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the "three amigos" will have to prove the worth of their trade agreements in the face of increasing backlash. As of now, only 25% of Canadians support NAFTA, and the United States has yet to agree on the TPP.
This year's meeting will perhaps prove the most important out of all of the Three Amigos Summits thus far. If formal pledges in environmental and policy issues are made in the summit, they may prove as essential precedents for years to come.