Thank you very much, Peter, and let me start by saying what a thrill it is to be back here in Canada for my first visit in my capacity as Assistant Secretary of State for Energy Resources.  And special thanks to the Net Zero Advisory Body and the Canadian Climate Institute for giving me this terrific lead-in with my Governor, Governor Newsom.  

As Peter said, I grew up in Southern California, I still count it as home.  It’s where my parents and my kids live.  It’s been really exciting for me to see what the energy transition looks like every time I go back to my home state.  I was in Silicon Valley just two weeks ago and it was remarkable to see then both the forging of linkages between the tech sector and the energy transition sector that’s such an important part of the Silicon Valley ecosystem right now.  The way venture capitalists and others are starting to look at energy transition as driving the same kind of opportunities that they have seen over the past decades in the tech sector.  But also, how fast the energy landscape is changing, and Governor Newsom talked about that a little bit, but you see the new headquarters of hydrogen companies.  I visited laboratories at Stanford that were working on innovative battery chemistries.  And pretty much every Amazon delivery truck that I saw was a Rivian.  So you really see how the energy transition is happening.

You also see up close and personal the impact of the climate crisis.  I was sharing with Peter earlier some of my impressions from my six years in Greece during which I saw horrific wildfires, flooding, the change in the sea temperature in the Mediterranean which is seeing some of the most extreme variation anywhere in the world.  And it’s a real reminder that the world is flashing a yellow light to all of us, that we need to tackle this climate challenge as fast and with the greatest urgency that we can muster.

I’m also here in Canada because this is a really unique relationship in terms of the issues that I am responsible for.  Of course we have the world’s most comprehensive trading relationship, but what not everybody knows is that Canada also is the United States’ largest energy trading partner.  We have robust clean energy ties.  We have deeply integrated energy infrastructure systems.  But we’re also working more and more together around all of the issues that are at the cutting edge of the energy transition, whether carbon sequestration, clean hydrogen, critical minerals and supply chains.  So there’s just an awful lot for us in government to do.

But we also share the fundamental understanding that ultimately what is going to define the success of the energy transition is the work of our private sectors and the choices of our citizens.

This is really an unprecedented time in the global energy picture.  You have the convergence of multiple crises, the impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and Putin’s weaponization of his energy resources, but also the demands of the climate crisis and the opportunities.  And again, I come back to my impressions from California just recently.

We have long been able to count on Canada as an ally and a like-minded partner on so many issues, and of course climate is part of that.  So I want to start by expressing appreciation for Canada’s action and leadership, both the public and private sectors addressing the climate crisis.

But this is not just a matter of federal governments continuing to work together as we are doing every single day, but also what happens region to region and the way our companies and our private sectors work together and what our citizens are doing together.

A big part of the story in the United States, of course, as has been alluded to, is the Inflation Reduction Act but also the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, together mobilizing more than a half trillion dollars that is really super-charging the energy transition in the United States.

The IRA is, quite simply, the most important and most ambitious climate legislation in our country’s history and it is going to produce a dramatic change both in our ability to meet our Paris climate targets, but also the way the American energy ecosystem is organized.

We’re seeing already how the Inflation Reduction Act is changing the calculus of our companies and the catalyst that it is providing for huge new investments in clean hydrogen, in innovation across the carbon sequestration space.

We just celebrated the one year anniversary of the Inflation Reduction Act last August.  Since then our private sector has announced about $110 billion in new clean energy manufacturing which is creating jobs and opportunities across the US economy, but given the interconnected character of the North American economy, it’s inevitably going to bring benefits here in Canada as well, and that’s one of the things that I’ll be talking about with government today.

One other issue that’s a particular focus of my government engagements today, I’ll just spend a minute on this, is the question of critical minerals.  Because as much as we want to drive the transformation of our energy systems, our transportation systems, that’s going to mean that the world needs exponential growth in the volume of cobalt, lithium, nickel, zinc, copper, graphite that our industries have available.  We want to make sure that those commodities are produced in a way that meets the expectations of our communities, that upholds the high ESGs that our citizens are going to demand, and we want to break the near monopoly that China has across too many of these supply chains today.

For the State Department, our signature initiative to tackle this challenge is something called the Mineral Security Partnership, an organization that brings together 14 governments.  Canada was a founding partner in the MSP and has been a very strong participant.  The idea of the MSP is to bring our governments and our private sectors together, to mobilize our diplomatic power but also our state finance institutions,  our trade finance organizations, in order to identify projects around the world which will help to create opportunity and drive the availability of resources that I talked about while meeting the high ESGs that we have embraced publicly through the ESG principles that the MSP partners have all signed up to.

We greatly appreciate Canada’s strong participation in this exercise and one of the things I’ll be talking about today is how we can continue to leverage this as a mechanism to identify opportunities, to bring our governments together, and to drive the growth in what our industry is doing at a pace that is faster than what the market alone would produce because we are trying to meet the challenge of the climate crisis.

So let me stop there and hand it over to Sean.  I think we’re going to have a conversation now.  But what I would like to leave you with is a combination of the sense of ambition and optimism that Governor Newsom conveyed so effectively in his message, but also a sense of the United States Government’s, of the Biden administration’s, profound commitment to our special partnership with Canada on these issues.

We have a very long history of collaboration between our energy industries.  Now we’re going to have to take that collaboration and move it into all of these new spaces including the issues around electric vehicles that were the topic of the panel before mine.

Again, thank you to our hosts and I really look forward to the conversation.

U.S. Department of State

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