"Our challenge in North America is to make the use of energy compatible with economic growth and the preservation of the environment. Basic and applied scientific research, which this agreement promotes, is a key factor in overcoming this challenge successfully," said Mexican Energy Secretary Georgina Kessel. The Canadian Minister of Natural Resources Gary Lunn, who hosted Kessel and his U.S. counterpart, Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman, added: "With greater North American cooperation, all three of our nations can increase the potential return on our investments in energy science and technology."Some of their early joint efforts have focused on standardizing energy performance for consumer and industrial products such as refrigerators and large electric motors — efforts they plan on expanding by standardizing seven more energy-using products within the next few years. The energy market between the three North American countries currently accounts for close to $150 billion in trade. The ministers announced they would cooperate the improve its effectiveness "while recognizing and fully respecting the jurisdictional authorities of each."
While the three countries' leaders had already pledged to work together to promote energy conservation and clean energy technologies in 2005, this marks the first occasion that they ink an official accord. We'll be curious to see whether such cooperation can really help usher in innovative technologies and significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions.