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The White House

President Obama and Prime Minister Harper vow joint effort on North American economic recovery

Office of the Press Secretary
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                     February 19, 2009
President Obama and Prime Minister Harper vow joint effort on North American economic recovery
Leaders establish Clean Energy Dialogue, discuss global security concerns
February 2009, Ottawa, Ontario
President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Stephen Harper today agreed the United States and Canada will pursue economic recovery measures and efforts to strengthen the international financial system to counter the global economic recession. 
"I value our strategic partnership with Canada and look forward to working closely with the Prime Minister to address the global economic recession and create jobs, to protect our environment through promoting clean energy technologies, and achieve our shared goals in responding to international security challenges." said the President.
"The President and I agree that both our countries must take immediate action to restore economic growth by lowering taxes, ensuring access to credit and unleashing spending that stimulates economic growth.  We also agreed to strengthen our cooperation in the areas of environmental protection and global security," said the Prime Minister.
The Prime Minister and the President discussed their respective economic recovery and their focus on saving and creating jobs. In addition, the President and the Prime Minister discussed common challenges they face, including restructuring of the North American auto sector.
They also discussed working together to develop effective global responses to the economic crisis, through the G-8 and G-20 processes.  The United States and Canada will actively work together to ensure that the G-20 Summit in April contributes to restoring confidence in financial markets.
Finally, they instructed senior officials to meet at an early date to develop strategies to enhance our collective security in North America, including reviewing the management of the Canada-U.S. border.
Noting the long and productive history of bilateral co-operation on continental environmental protection and energy trade and technology, the President and the Prime Minister agreed that environmental protection and the development of clean energy are inextricably linked and announced plans to work together to build a new energy economy as a key element of broader economic recovery and reinvestment efforts. 
The Leaders discussed practical ways the United States and Canada could encourage the development of clean energy technologies to reduce greenhouse gases and combat climate change.  The Leaders established a senior-level U.S.-Canada Clean Energy Dialogue that will cooperate on several critical energy science and technology issues, including:  
  • Expand clean energy research and development
  • Develop and deploy clean energy technology
  • Build a more efficient electric grid based on clean and renewable generation
  • United States and Canadian officials will meet in the coming weeks to launch the clean energy dialogue. 
The President and the Prime Minister agreed on the importance of Canada and the United States cooperating closely on a number of key international priorities for both countries, with a particular focus on Afghanistan which is a top priority for both countries and which will be a major subject of attention at the upcoming NATO Summit.  The Leaders also agreed to work together closely in the Americas, including promoting effective discussion and meaningful results at the Summit of the Americas in April.        
Our Foreign Ministers will meet in Washington next week, and Ministers of Defence the following week, to pursue a strengthened dialogue on these and other key international challenges.

U.S. – Canada Clean Energy Dialogue
Expand clean energy research and development
  • A cleaner, more secure energy future for both nations will depend on significant investments in energy research and development today.
  • The United States and Canada are collaborating on energy research related to advanced biofuels, clean engines, and energy efficiency.  In order to address the energy and environmental challenges that we face together, the two nations agreed to expand collaboration in these and other key areas of energy science and technology.
  • The senior-level Clean Energy Dialogue will review the existing forms of collaboration and identify high-return opportunities for expanded and new joint research.
Develop and deploy clean energy technology
  • Carbon capture and storage technology holds enormous potential to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions as we use our own energy resources to power our economy. 
  • To spur rapid progress in this critical technology, the two nations will coordinate research and demonstrations of carbon capture and sequestration technology at coal-fired plants.  This will build on our experience with the North Dakota-Weyburn project.
  • The United States will draw from the $3.4 billion for carbon capture and storage demonstrations in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.  Canada’s Economic Action Plan establishes a $1 billion Clean Energy Fund which builds on the Canada’s previous investments in carbon capture and sequestration.
  • A strengthened U.S.-Canada partnership on carbon sequestration will help accelerate private sector investment in commercial scale, near-zero-carbon coal facilities to promote climate and energy security.
Build a more efficient electricity grid based on clean and renewable generation
  • The modern, 21st century electric grid will need to be bigger, better, and smarter than the system developed during the 20th century that our countries share.
  • The two nations will consult and share information on the demonstration and deployment of smart grid technology, including installing smart meters in residential and commercial buildings, digitizing distribution systems, and employing information and measurement tools to manage the grid more effectively.
  • The United States will draw from the $11.01 billion for smart grid technology and transmission investment in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. To build a bigger grid, the United States and Canada will share analysis of new transmission options for integrating wind power and other clean generation sources and encourage development of a grid stakeholders group, building on the existing U.S.-Canadian collaboration among the States and provinces in the West, Midwest, and East.
  • These investments will make electricity delivery more reliable, reduce congestion that can lead to blackouts and power losses, enable consumers to use energy more efficiently, and promote broader development of renewable power.