Current News



The US is the biggest carbon emitter in history. Where do other nations stand?

Anna M. Phillips, Los Angeles Times on

Published in News & Features


Canada is another country that's expected to announce a stronger emissions target at President Biden's summit.

In 2015, the country's leaders pledged to reduce emissions by 30% below 2005 levels by 2030 — a goal that Canada was far from meeting before the pandemic. But a stagnating global economy and declining emissions have put it within sight, according to the Climate Action Tracker, though only if the country commits to taking more action.

That commitment has been a bit wobbly.

In recent years, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has tried to balance the desire to make fighting climate change a top priority with his support for the country's oil and gas industry. He has long supported the Keystone XL pipeline as part of an effort to prop up production in the oil sands, which is critical to Alberta's economy, but is an especially dirty source of energy. Shortly after taking office, Biden revoked the pipeline's cross-border permit.

Canada has pledged to achieve zero emissions by 2050, but it remains unclear how the country will reach that goal.



Mexico's President Andrés Manuel López Obrador is on the invite list for the White House climate summit, but expectations that he'll commit to a tougher climate goal are low.

Since taking office in late 2018, López Obrador has dismayed environmentalists by tipping the scales of the country's energy sector away from renewable sources and toward fossil fuels.

He has canceled major projects that would have transported power generated by renewable energy plants around the country and called for more investment in coal.

According to a recent Times report, he has pushed legislation that requires the energy grid to first take power from state-run plants — fueled in large part by crude oil and coal — before less expensive wind and solar energy. Experts say López Obrador's actions are rooted in nationalism and a desire to play up Mexico's role as a fossil fuel powerhouse.

Mexico pledged under the Paris agreement to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 22% below business-as-usual levels by the end of the decade. But the country's energy policies suggest its emissions will only trend upward.

(c)2021 the Los Angeles Times Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.