Deal to curb methane on deck when Trudeau meets Obama in Washington this week

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appears poised to reap the benefits of some climate groundwork laid by the previous Conservative government when he travels to Washington on a state visit this week.

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appears poised to reap the benefits of some climate groundwork laid by the previous Conservative government when he travels to Washington on a state visit this week.

The White House special envoy on climate says bilateral agreements on reducing methane and black carbon are among those in the works when Trudeau meets with President Barack Obama on Wednesday and Thursday.

The Americans have taken over the chair of the Arctic Council — a post held by Canada for the last two years — and say they will continue to press for reductions in highly potent methane emissions from oil and gas operations that pack far more climate-warming punch than carbon dioxide.

White House envoy Todd Stern, told a briefing in Washington that the goal is to reduce methane emissions 40 to 45 per cent below 2012 levels by 2025 in the oil and gas sector.

Black carbon, created by burning dirty fossil fuels such as diesel, is also a problem in the Arctic identified under the previous Conservative watch due to the soot’s warming properties on snow cover.

Stern lavished praise on Canada’s new Liberal government, saying the climate relationship between the two North American neighbours ramped up dramatically quickly since last October’s federal election and that Canada “made a very positive splash” at the Paris climate conference.

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