NAFTA is fuelling climate change in North America

The Council of Canadians
Ottawa, Ontario

A groundbreaking new report by Council of Canadians

The report, NAFTA 2.0: For People or Polluters?, is a tri-national project from leading Canadian, Mexican and American economists who detail in original research how existing NAFTA provisions bind all three countries to fossil fuel futures, and how current negotiations make the problems worse.

For example, NAFTA’s energy proportionality rules require that Canada make available for export to the U.S. the same percentage of oil and gas as it has in the past three years.

What does that mean for Canada’s climate? The report’s economic modelling shows that NAFTA’s energy proportionality rules would lock in 1,488 megatonnes more greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. This is double Canada’s yearly emissions and more than 12 times greater than its 2050 climate pollution target.

In his Toronto Star op-ed, Dr. Gordon Laxer – author of the Canadian sections of the report, long-time Board Member of the Council of Canadians, and political economist and founding director of the Parkland Institute at the University of Alberta – expanded on how NAFTA restricts Canada’s ability to lower carbon emissions.

Dr. Laxer adds, “The Trudeau brand is all about progressive sounding, green tinted messages. However, in NAFTA, nothing has been done to address environmentally destructive measures such as energy proportionality or the investor state dispute mechanism. It is scandalous that NAFTA’s proportionality rule locks Canada into perpetual production of climate-polluting tar sands oil and fracked gas. For Canada’s transition to a clean energy economy to begin, this polluter-friendly rule must end.”

More key findings from the report are outlined on our website. And if you haven’t seen it yet, there you can also watch the Council’s helpful video on energy proportionality.

For decades, the Council of Canadians has been arguing that NAFTA erodes our ability to have sovereignty over our energy resources – and we have been proven right.

Now, with the urgency of climate change, our concerns are even more vital today in the context of NAFTA renegotiations.

Thank you for your continuing support. Together, we will keep fighting for Canada to negotiate a NAFTA that better protects people and the planet.

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