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    Future Environmental Challenges for Mexico and its North American Partners

    By Keith R | June 10, 2008

    Topics: Economics & the Environment, Environmental Protection | 1 Comment »

    1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (1 votes, average: 4.00 out of 5)

    Whether or not you perceive it as a good thing, Mexico long ago decided to link its environmental policymaking to that of its two partners in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Canada and the United States. The main vehicle for their collaboration is the Montreal-based North American Commission on Environmental Cooperation (CEC). CEC is currently trying to chart out the main environmental challenges that the three nations face through the year 2030, and how the CEC might best contribute to facing those challenges. An input to this will be the one-day conference hosted by the Joint Public Advisory Committee (JPAC) which be held in Ottawa two weeks from now, on 25 June. The conference will be open to the public.

    The foundation for discussion at the conference is an overview paper (Spanish, French) prepared by the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) and Stratos Inc. The paper suggests looking at five basic issue clusters:

    The paper looks at the current meta-data and scenarios through 2030 for each area, and concludes that key questions North American policymakers (and the rest of us) should be asking are:

    1. Is the level of environmental degradation implied in most of the scenarios acceptable? Do the Parties have sufficient information to understand the full environmental implications (e.g., cumulative effects, environmental thresholds, risks of irreversible changes) and socio-economic consequences implied? If not, what measures are required to improve this understanding?
    2. Do the benefits of the continued rise in the material standard of living fully offset the environmental and socio-economic costs and risks identified? If they do, are the costs and benefits of growth shared equitably? If not, what policies are required to ensure a fairer distribution?
    3. What policy measures are required in key sectors (e.g., energy, agriculture, fisheries) in order to keep environmental impacts to acceptable levels? What would it take to implement a Sustainability First scenario, as described by UNEP?
    4. While their circumstances differ markedly, in what areas can the Parties collaborate to greatest advantage to reduce environmental degradation or to achieve environmental benefits?
    5. Is North America prepared to manage possible abrupt environmental changes over the next several decades? If not, what mechanisms does it need to put in place to prepare for such eventualities?

    What Environmental Issues Should the CEC Focus on? (up to 3 picks allowed)

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    From the North American Commission on Environmental Cooperation (CEC):

    Forecasts of the environmental future for North America predict a range of possible scenarios. One constant is that the policy choices we face today—on climate change mitigation, energy use and technology, transportation and the quality of our built environment—will most certainly impact our environmental future.

    These topics and the key trends expected to affect environmental quality in North America will be the subject of a public examination on 25 June at the Government Conference Centre in Ottawa, Canada. North America 2030: An Environmental Outlook is hosted by the Joint Public Advisory Committee (JPAC) of the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC), and will assist JPAC members in fulfilling their role as citizen advisors to the CEC Council of environment ministers from Canada, Mexico and the United States.

    This one-day conference commences with a keynote address by Thomas Homer-Dixon, George Ignatieff Chair of Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Toronto, and author of the award-winning The Upside of Down: Catastrophe, Creativity, and the Renewal of Civilization.

    A dozen international experts will explore topics encompassing the challenge for North America from global environmental change, the environmental impacts of continued growth and integration of the NAFTA partners, and issues of food, energy and environmental security. Panelists include Nobel laureates Dr. Mario Molina (1995) and members of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (2007). North America’s environmental future and policy options will be further examined in relation to the global environmental outlook recently completed by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

    This outlook conference is open to the public. Registration includes a networking lunch and evening reception to mark the commencement of the following day’s 15th Regular Session of the CEC Council. On-site registration begins the evening of 24 June. A discussion paper, registration form, as well as full program details and agenda are available online at

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    One Response to “Future Environmental Challenges for Mexico and its North American Partners”

    1. Environment Alert Says:

      […] Future Environmental Challenges for Mexico and its North American … By Keith R energy use and production (includes climate change); ?the built environment? (urban planning and development, green building, etc.) competition for water; human health (air pollution, water pollution, toxics, POPs, health implications … The Temas Blog – […]

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