The government is also working on building alliances with Florida, Indiana, Texas, Michigan, New York and other states.
Immediately after Mr. Trump’s announcement about the Paris accord, Ms. McKenna was on the phone with Jerry Brown, California’s governor, and Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington. Both back the agreement, and Canada hopes to coordinate its climate efforts with their states, she said.
On Monday, Mr. Trudeau made it clear that Mr. Trump’s withdrawal from the accord would not change the bigger Canadian strategy — without mentioning either the president’s name or that of the United States.
“Canada will not back down from its commitment to fight climate change — and we are not alone,” the prime minister said after kayaking briefly with Ms. McKenna to observe World Environment Day. “Around the world, nearly every country is on our side.”
Then on Tuesday, in a sweeping speech to the House of Commons, Chrystia Freeland, the foreign minister, said, “We will continue to seek opportunities for constructive progress on the environment, wherever we can find them, with our counterparts in Washington and across the great United States, at all levels of government and with partners in business, labor and civil society.”
The Canadian government has not entirely given up on the administration in Washington, Ms. McKenna said in an interview on Monday. She said she would again push the issue during meetings with Scott Pruitt, the Environmental Protection Agency administrator, at a gathering of Group of 7 environment ministers in Rome which begins on Saturday.
Privately, though, officials in Canada acknowledge that it is unlikely that the Trump administration will reverse its stand, making working with states and local governments even more critical.
In both the United States and Canada, federal governments set the overall rules and regulations on environmental policy, but as a practical matter the states and provinces are largely responsible for putting them into effect. Carbon taxes and cap-and-trade systems, for example, are established at that level.
About two and a half months ago, Mr. Trudeau’s government divided up the United States among its cabinet members based somewhat on past relationships to work on climate issues, as well as on trade matters. For example, Marc Garneau, the transport minister who met with William Peduto, the Pittsburgh mayor, has also been to Florida, where he spent several years as an astronaut and flew on three space shuttle flights.
States like New York and Pennsylvania, with businesses that have large export markets in Canada, are also being seen as potential allies. Other states, like Indiana, the home of Vice President Mike Pence, were picked because of their ties to the Trump administration.
Although the early meetings were heavily trade-focused, climate change is now expected to assume greater importance.
The strategy has some potential risks. States cannot conduct diplomatic relations, so there is no mechanism for them to assume Washington’s role in international climate change bodies.
“It’s one thing for California to talk to Quebec or British Columbia about carbon trading,” said Kevin Book, a research analyst with Clearview Energy Partners in Washington. “But it’s quite another to suggest that states replace the United States at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. There’s no reason for Canada to invite that conflict.”
Also, Mr. Trudeau’s government potentially risks clouding the relationship with the Trump White House if it is seen as overtly undermining the president’s agenda within American borders.
In discussions with state and local officials, emission reduction programs are a particular focus. And in this area, California will play a special role.
While Canada has a large automotive industry, the cars and trucks it produces are overwhelmingly exported to the United States. That makes setting unique emissions or fuel economy standards for the Canadian market economically unviable. But California, one of the world’s most important car markets, has long been ahead of the United States government on emissions rules. Canada now plans to work closely with the state as it again effectively becomes the American vehicle emissions regulator.
“There’s certainly no question that California is a world leader and is leading the United States on vehicle emissions,” said Mr. Garneau, Canada’s transport minister.
Mr. Garneau said he anticipated that a group of experts he just gathered to recommend zero-emission vehicle rules for Canada would closely watch California’s decisions.
Coming directly after the president’s speech, the meeting between the mayor and Mr. Garneau centered on the role of transit in reducing emissions, as well as trade issues.
“U.S. states and cities are reaching out and soliciting this kind of contact,” said Paul Bodnar, the managing director at the Rocky Mountain Institute in Boulder and a former climate policy adviser to the Obama administration. “Previously states and others often played second fiddle to the federal government on the international plane. Now, for the first time, governors and mayors are in the international area. Canada also now has an opportunity to provide significant leadership.”
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