Progress under United States-Canada Air Quality Agreement to Reduce Emissions of Pollutants in Border Region

Media Note
Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
November 19, 2009

The Governments of the United States and Canada met in Washington, D.C today to review the significant progress made over the last two decades in addressing transboundary impacts of air pollution under the United States-Canada Air Quality Agreement. Under this landmark agreement, the two governments agreed to take specific actions to address transboundary air pollution and its impacts on human health and the environment. They also agreed to work together on scientific and technical cooperation as well as on research related to transboundary air pollution. An annex to the 1991 agreement covers acid rain, and in 2000, the governments added a second annex to address ground level ozone.

Since 1991, the United States and Canada have made considerable progress in reducing emissions of acid rain precursors and smog-forming compounds, in particular in areas near the border where transboundary transport is a particular concern. For example, the United States reduced sulfur dioxide emissions from covered sources by 52 percent from 1990 levels, and reduced nitrogen oxide emissions by 55 percent from their 1990 levels. Canada has made similar progress in reducing emissions of these substances and is meeting its agreed caps under the Agreement. These reductions demonstrate remarkable progress in less than two decades from identifying a serious cross-border problem to taking meaningful action to address it.

The Air Quality Agreement continues to be a dynamic instrument protecting human health and the environment on both sides of the shared border. We look forward to continuing our cooperation with the Government of Canada to sustain the progress we have made in maintaining air quality in the border region.

PRN: 2009/1159