Nafta and the Enforcement of Environmental Standards

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Future Development and Enforcement of Environmental Standards within the NAFTA

Anthony Green
November 16, 2011
Dr. Michael Harvey’s International Business

There have been critics of the pollution mankind has created since the industrial revolution. Like most new ideas, being eco-friendly started slowly. The first environmental regulation attempted to ensure clean drinking water. As time progressed, more people started understanding that more than water was being affected. When more government regulations were created to help not only the drinking water, but also other ecosystems including our atmosphere, opponents readily voiced their dissent. This conflict over government regulation continues today. Every other week, it seems that someone is disproving or proving the existence of mad made ‘global warming.’ It is time to set aside personal beliefs and look at the facts. Whether or not ‘Global Warming’ is caused by humankind, the creation of ‘Green’ products has helped in the reduction of pollution and the conservation of our planet.

In this paper, I am going to discuss the benefits and difficulties faced when countries address environmental protection standards. For some, protecting the environment has turned a tedious responsibility to a major cash cow. For other nations and organizations, the environment is the least of their concerns. Certainly the wealth of a nation is an important factor concerning how a government handles environment protection. Not all governments can afford the clean technology, yet. I will discuss how the NAFTA can foster and promote sustainable development not only in Canada, Mexico, and the US but as well as less developed nations. I will show that creating and implementing green technology might not that big of a burden. Instead, putting clean technology into practices can be a blessing. Finally, I will offer ideas on how NAFTA can effectively promote environmental standards by letting the free market and competition be the driving force.

While brilliant minds are hard at work inventing and innovating new sustainable energy, politicians all over the world are attempting to create laws and agreements to end reckless and irresponsible emissions of pollutants. According to the United Nations, the United States alone has produced 5,461,041 thousand metric tons of the world’s CO2 emissions every year. That is a staggering 18.1% of the total CO2 emission in the world. That is four percent more than all twenty seven nations within the European Union. There is about 7,000,000,000 people on Earth and 300,000,000 live in the United States. That would mean about 4% of the world contributes to 20% of the total pollution. The other NAFTA countries, Canada and Mexico, account for less than two percent each for the worlds carbon emissions. The CO2 emissions are a large contributor of the degradation that the world’s ecosystems are facing today, yet not enough has been done on a collective global level to lower these numbers. As the world’s population continues to rapidly grow, changes need to be made in how environmental standards need to be handled. These changes must be lead by the largest pollution contributing nations: the nations of the European Union, the nations of NAFTA, and China.

It is no coincidence that the highest emitters also have the highest GDP. The countries with the most money to spend often spend it on energy consuming technology. But, these countries have the technology and the resources to change the way the world’s nations take care of their environment. There have been international conferences and meetings where great strides in leading the discussion to combat the destruction of Earth’s ecosystems have taken place. Currently, the United Nations Environment Program is guiding countries to utilize more sustainable resources and reduce emissions. One of the main problems with the United Nations Environment Program, however, is its status as a program and not and...
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