READOUT: Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna, promotes NAFTA, climate action, and ocean protection, in Houston and Miami
January 24, 2018 – Miami, Florida – Canada’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna, travelled to Houston, Texas; and Miami, Florida, to promote NAFTA, increased collaboration on ocean health, coastal solutions, clean technology, and renewable energy opportunities.
In Houston, Minister McKenna met with the Mayor of Houston, Sylvester Turner. Mayor Turner is Co-Chair of US Climate Mayors, a coalition of 391 US mayors working together to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement. They discussed NAFTA and the importance of the Canada-US trade relationship to the economy of Houston and of Texas. Texas sells $24.1 billion in goods and services to Canada, and 459 700 jobs depend on trade and investment with Canada. The Mayor noted that the city remains a global oil-and-gas centre while diversifying and taking advantage of the opportunity of clean growth and renewable energy. The Mayor expressed interest in signing on to the Powering Past Coal Alliance, an international coalition co-founded by Canada and the UK, where partners commit to phasing out traditional coal power.
During her visit to Houston, the Minister visited BP’s Wind Energy Remote Operations Center, where logistics and conditions for 16 wind farms across the US are monitored. Today, Texas produces more wind energy than any US state, and power generated by wind is expected to exceed coal-generated power in the state, in 2018.
As part of her Climate Campus tour, Minister McKenna visited the University of Houston, where she met with professors and students working on energy and environment science and law. She also met with researchers at the new Hurricane Resilience Research Institute created after Hurricane Harvey. The Institute focuses on issues such as severe storm flood-mitigation management and the building of resilient communities. Minister McKenna hosted a town hall at Texas A&M University at Galveston and met with ocean scientists looking at ocean health, energy, and maritime complex. She also visited one of the University’s ocean research vessels.
In Miami, Minister McKenna emphasized the importance of NAFTA to the Florida economy at a round table with Florida businesses and trade associations and in discussions with the Mayor of South Miami, Philip Stoddard. Canada is Florida’s most important economic partner. Each year, Canada and Florida trade $8 billion worth of goods, and 620 000 jobs in Florida depend on trade with Canada.
Minister McKenna met with representatives of NextEra Energy, Inc., North America’s largest generator of solar and wind energy and the third-largest utility in the US. They discussed opportunities for further investment by NextEra Energy in Canada’s North as well as in provinces such as Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Ontario.
The Minister visited the Brickell City Centre Climate Ribbon and the City of Miami Beach Convention Center. These two sites showcase how the city is adapting to sea-level rise and more frequent, intense, and prolonged tidal flooding exacerbated by climate change. The Climate Ribbon, which was designed in part by Guelph-based company RWDI, spans the length of three city blocks and acts as an architectural air conditioner in the summer and umbrella when it rains.
The City of Miami Beach Convention Center has the world’s single-largest pumping station to remove displaced groundwater that is surging due to rising sea levels. The Convention Center is reinforced by a living sea wall and natural mangroves, which help to mitigate and adapt to the impacts of flooding caused by climate change.
The Minister also convened a round table of ocean and environmental experts to discuss Canada's G7 presidency focus on ocean protection and marine litter.
“My meetings in Houston and Miami reinforced the strong ties between Canada and these important Canadian partners on trade and the environment. I was heartened to see the shared commitment by local governments and business to NAFTA and the good middle-class jobs it creates in both countries. It was also incredible to see the transition of the economies of both Houston and Miami toward clean growth and to meet with innovative clean-energy and clean-technology companies, many of which are looking at investment opportunities in Canada. I was also impressed by the leadership from the mayors of both Houston and Miami on climate change as well as the efforts to build more communities more resilient to extreme weather events.”
– Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change
Marie-Pascale Des Rosiers
Office of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change
Environment and Climate Change Canada
819-938-3338 or 1-844-836-7799 (toll-free)
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