The United States will discuss energy and climate issues with Mexico as part of the North American Leaders’ Summit on Thursday, which will see Joe Biden and Andrés Manuel López Obrador meet for the first time as presidents.
The summit will also include Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau. While the current administrations in Canada and the United States are pushing for net-zero emissions goals by 2050 and major build-out of renewable energy power generation, Mexico, under leftist populist president López Obrador, has taken the opposite path.
The Mexican government has been moving ahead with a comprehensive revamp of the country’s energy market aimed to virtually undo all the reforms implemented by the previous administration and re-establish state-owned companies as the dominant players in the field. López Obrador is also strongly favoring fossil fuels and a key role for state oil firm Pemex in the market.
“Given where the U.S. economy is going to be going over the course of this administration and the priority that this President has placed on addressing the climate emergency, it is an area where we see great opportunity to partner with both Canada and with Mexico,” a senior U.S. Administration official said on Thursday before the summit.
The U.S. is closely tracking Mexico’s proposed energy reforms, and in the energy sector, “For us, when we think about North America in that regard, it is as partners. And what we want to lay out are kind of the opportunities and the opportunity costs of certain decisions,” the official added.
Still, President Biden may not be in a position to pressure López Obrador on energy issues and the energy transition at today’s summit, Los Angeles Times reported on Wednesday. The reason for this is that President Biden needs Mexico’s cooperation in reducing migration to the U.S., Pamela Starr, a professor of international relations at USC who has advised diplomats from both countries in the past, told Los Angeles Times.
“He doesn’t want to call Mexico out,” Starr said.