The Bilateral Research Consultation Group on the Long Range Transport of Air Pollutants was established in 1978 by the Canadian and U.S. governments. This was after significant harms to the environment in Canada were linked with industrial emission in the United States. Less than 2 years after the establishment of the joint Research Consultation Group, the 1980 Memorandum of Intent on Transboundary Air Pollution was signed. The agreement was comprised of four phases; the first three consisted of research on the various effects of acid rain. In the fourth phase the two countries were to begin negotiations on an agreement to reduce the emissions that contributed to transborder air pollution.

After the first three phases were complete, the United States continued to push for additional research rather than sign an agreement to reduce emissions. In 1984, the Canadian government decided to go it alone. They introduced a controls program that would reduce national emissions by 50%. After dragging its feet for several more years, the U.S. finally signed the United States-Canada Agreement on Air Quality in 1991. This agreement committed the U.S. and Canada to a reduction in SO2 and NOx emissions by 50%.

While both countries are on target to reduce emissions by the target dates specified in the agreement, other variables contributed to the reduction of emissions by the United States. For similar and different reasons to LRTAP, the U.S.—Canada MOI is also not viewed as an entirely successful regime. This agreement may have been partially responsible for the decrease in U.S. contributions to transborder air pollution. However, after the MOI agreement, the U.S. government was responsible for settling the domestic dispute over interstate air pollution in the Northeast. Emissions were reduced more for that reason than to appease Canada.

Like LRTAP, the MOI lacks any serious enforcement mechanisms. This oversight allowed the United States to stall commitment to emissions reductions for several years. This means that there are no consequences for any increase in pollution that may occur as a result of the policies of the George W. Bush Administration. This administration has cut enforcement funding of the EPA by 13%, which has caused a drop of fifty cases where the agency was investigating violations of the Clean Air Act [31]. Potentially, this means that fifty more firms will be permitted to operate without meeting national air quality standards.

Negotiating Essentials

Negotiating Essentials

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