Sunday, January 21, 2007

A North American Energy Community?

An interesting analytical piece from the Arizona Republic, which suggests:

...The creation of a powerful energy alliance among the three great nations of North America: the United States, Canada and Mexico.

The alliance would be modeled on the European Coal and Steel Community, and its purpose would be to:

... Develop a common energy policy that can meet our long-term and short-term energy challenges. Our basic premise starts with the notion that, for the short term at least, we need to develop domestic fossil fuels. This step, however, needs to be taken with the strongest possible environmental safeguards.

Note that "our" in the above passage refers to the United States. While author Joel Godkin dons a continentalist mask, it slips occasionally. The proposed NAEC is conceptualized primarily as a means of realizing U.S. interests. And note that, Luxembourg aside, the ECSC was implemented by countries of about the same size and political strength (France, West Germany, Italy, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands). Given the size/political power disparities between the three nations that would be involved in any North American alliance, I can see Canadian energy policy becoming enslaved to that of our Southern neighbor by a crappy deal which, in practical terms, could never be abrogated.

A neat factoid in the piece:

Canada is known for its surplus of fossil fuels, but it also possesses promising potential in hydroelectric and wind energy. Its considerable wind potential, Canadian researchers believe, could provide 20 percent of that nation's power.

This claim is unsourced, and seems a bit incredible to me. Has anyone come across a similar figure?