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Geographica Helvetica
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Volume 47, issue 3
Geogr. Helv., 47, 112-120, 1992
https://doi.org/10.5194/gh-47-112-1992
© Author(s) 1992. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Geogr. Helv., 47, 112-120, 1992
https://doi.org/10.5194/gh-47-112-1992
© Author(s) 1992. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

  30 Sep 1992

30 Sep 1992

Abnehmende Kooperation in der Umweltpolitik trotz zunehmender wirtschaftlicher Integration : das kanadisch-amerikanische Verhältnis im Umweltbereich

A. Gurtner-Zimmermann A. Gurtner-Zimmermann
  • Department of Geography, University of Toronto, Toronto/Ontario, Canada

Abstract. Over the last decades, Canada and Switzerland, countries with "small" economies, when compared with their neighbours, have experienced increasing economic Integration with their main trading partners, the United States and the European Community (EC) respectively. Using a political-economic approach, this article analyzes the effects of growmg Integration for management of transboundary, environmental problems in North America. As well, in view of the Canadian experience, possible implications for Switzerland in its future relationship to the EC are addressed.
In the past the Canadian-American debate over transboundary environmental problems has centered around questions of territory. Despite increasing economic Integration, the dominant reaction to ecological interdependence has been reliance on national policies. In accordance with the American, economic leadership in the continental System, the kind of political response to transboundary, environmental Problems is mainly dictated by the importance of the problem in the United States. The Great Lakes are an area of mutual concern and, therefore, an example for limited, environmental Cooperation and the adoption of an environmental advanced Position. In the U. S., the political response to acid rain was reactive and delayed, since only certain regions were concerned. Despite Canadian domestic and international efforts during the 1980s, until recently no significant progress has been made in developing effective measures to abate air emissions.
The conclusion of the Canada-U. S. Free Trade Agreement (FTA) in 1988 did not change the very nature of the mutual environmental relationship. However, in the corollary to the FTA serious threats to the environment can be identified. Liberalized trade and restrained State Intervention foster the accelerated exploitation of Canada's natural resources and further the harmonization of environmental Standards between the two countries.
In view ofthe Canadian experience, the article concludes that for Switzerland an economic agreement with the EC without parallel environmental commitments could have significant, negative consequences.

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