Canada and the Green Transition: Perspectives on the Way Forward

Chapter 11 | The Green Transition in North America: A 2030-for-2050 Net Zero Strategy

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Key Messages




  • Canada and the U.S. are ‘interlocked’ with one another by overlapping economic, environmental and security interdependences, and share broad perspectives on climate mitigation targets (2030 action for 2050 net-zero) as well as priority areas for reductions (methane, electrification, CCUS)
  • Despite this, the dominant dynamic between the two countries is neutral or even competitive. Positive interdependence is growing but remains under-developed
  • One key difference between the perspectives of the two countries is in the role of critical minerals in the Green Transition: as a security imperative for the U.S., as an enabler of the Green Transition and mechanism for economic growth in Canada




  • The governance structures and processes currently in place to support active cooperation in terms of climate policy are insufficient – they are fragmented, ad hoc, dependent on/driven by the good will of the current political leadership and primarily top-down in their orientation.
  • There is very little evidence of more cohesive planning
  • Activities are primarily sectoral and carried out domestically, so subject to agency and political consultation processes




  • Bilateral policies consist primarily of memorandums of understanding and cabinet-level commitments that commit Canada and the U.S. to shared targets and continued discussions. Unlike other areas of bilateral environmental engagement, there are no executive agreements or treaties to provide a basis for shared action and accountability
  • Examination of policy developments in the areas of methane reduction, electrification of transport and development of critical minerals reveals that the two countries are pursuing simultaneous (but different) domestic policies aimed at reduction efforts.




  • Canada and Mexico should work to facilitate the policy and regulatory environment necessary to engender U.S. cooperation on areas of mutual gain
  • The electrification of transport is likely the policy area where cooperation can yield the fastest gains, but effort must be made to dampen the competitive dynamic currently at play – easy areas to start are continental standards for recharge infrastructure and coordinated positioning of the North American EV manufacturing for international markets
  • Canada and the U.S. should pursue new cooperative arrangements facilitating the development of continental critical mineral extraction and processing chains to reflect the strategic importance of resource supply in the Green Transition
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