A Canadian head of state has not been invited to the White House in 20 years, but President Barack Obama is breaking the trend. This week, he will welcome newly-elected prime minister Justin Trudeau to Washington, D.C. to address a common goal: combating climate change.

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“Our most important relationship is with the U.S., and I am going to do everything I can to bring us closer together,” Trudeau told Huffingto Post. Josh Earnest, White House Press Secretary, echoed the sentiment, and said it “only makes sense” for the White House to welcome Trudeau.

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While Trudeau’s conservative forerunner Stephen Harper disagreed with Obama on multiple issues, including the Keystone XL Pipeline, Trudeau’s entry on the scene brought change. Canadians, for example, were instrumental at bringing about closure during the Paris climate talks.

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Trudeau has said that it is important to both men to fight climate change. Among other things, the two leaders are expected to agree to measures to preserve the melting Arctic and slash methane emissions by 45 per cent.

Methane emissions are even more destructive than carbon dioxide, and the leaders would target the oil and gas industry to cut down on those emissions.

It appears both Obamba and Trudeau want to take action before America votes in a new commander-in-chief, who may or may not be receptive to Trudeau’s passion for environmental issues. In an interview with 60 Minutes, Trudeau seemed to criticize Donald Trump when he said, “…being open and respectful towards each other is a much more powerful way to defuse hatred and anger than…big walls and oppressive policies.”

Obama and Trudeau will likely announce their decisions later this week.

Mark Feierstein, National Security Council Senior Director for Western Hemisphere Affairs, is optimistic about the meeting. He told Time, “I think there is a developing special relationship between this president and the prime minister. Both young leaders with similar visions. Both have a progressive vision of governing…I think we’re seeing that reflected, for example, on the issues of climate change and refugees and other issues. So this will be a good opportunity for the President and Prime Minister to expand on that relationship and build on that.”

Via The Guardian

Images via Wikimedia Commons (1,2)