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A Greener North America

A truck crosses the border between Mexico and the United States in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico.

Officials from Canada, Mexico and the United States agreed to improve environmental standards in the transportation sector.

Top environmental officials from Canada, Mexico and the United States agreed on July 11 to improve environmental standards in the transportation sector, mitigate the effects of climate change and improve air quality.

A Greener North America
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The actions emerged from a meeting of the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC), a continental alliance with an almost 20-year history of cooperation on these issues.

“We are announcing new initiatives to reduce emissions from trucks and buses, as well as from maritime transportation, especially at our borders and along our coasts,” said a ministerial statement issued by the CEC after a two-day meeting in Los Cabos, Mexico.

One initiative will assess vehicle emissions and develop options for reducing pollution generated at border checkpoints as drivers travel between the nations. A second project will identify ways to accelerate the adoption of cleaner technologies in buses and heavy-duty trucks.

The top environmental officials from the three nations discussed the prospects for greener transportation in a webcast town hall meeting July 11 with participation from online audiences across the continent.

Canadian Minister of the Environment Peter Kent said the standards for fuel efficiency in his nation and the United States aim for a shared target in new vehicle manufacture. “A vehicle purchased in 2025 under the new standards, for example, will produce half as much emissions, and will consume half as much fuel.”

The health benefits of cleaner air are a good reason for a uniform North American vehicle emissions standard, said Bob Perciasepe, then-acting administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

“Millions of people in the three countries will have significant public health benefits,” Perciasepe said during the webcast, “including reduced asthma in children, [and] reduced premature deaths to cardiovascular disease."

Since 2011, the CEC has been working on a project to improve the energy and environmental efficiency of the North American automotive industry supply chain. Its goals are a higher rate of use for recycled materials and lower emissions and fuel consumption.

The strong economic relationships among Canada, Mexico and the United States provide a foundation on which to build the framework for more sustainable practices. Already, the United States and Canada share the most integrated energy market in the world, with significant amounts of oil, natural gas and electricity flowing across their border. The United States will continue to work with Canada and Mexico toward a greener North America.