Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper agreed at a summit on Wednesday, to adopt the tough new fuel standards for heavy-duty trucks that President Barack Obama set for the US on Tuesday.
The North American leaders met at the elegant Palacio de Gobierno, in the colonial city of Toluca, President Peña Nieto’s hometown.
(At right, official White House photo by Amanda Lucidon)
According to an October 2013 survey commissioned by The Center for North American Studies at American University, citizens in all three countries support free trade agreements throughout North America, as measured by 74% of Mexicans, 80% of Canadians, and 65% of US citizens surveyed. In other words, North Americans support the efforts of regional leaders to pursue communal goals.
Harmonizing pollution standards will improve the environment and public health and strengthen the whole North American market.
The sooty, toxic diesel exhaust from heavy-duty trucks and buses is a perennial problem in the high-altitude Valley of Mexico. This is due to dirty, inefficient engines and the high concentration of sulfur in Mexican diesel fuel.
Most Mexican diesel now contains 300 parts per million (ppm) of sulfur, as compared to 15 ppm in the US and Canada. President Peña Nieto's National Energy Strategy 2013-2020 identifies the need to move to ultra-low sulfur fuels.
Using ultra-low sulfur fuels would reduce particulate matter emitted by vehicles by 5 to 10%. It would also enable the use of advanced particulate filters that can reduce particulate matter by more than 90%.
Citizens in all three countries will benefit from this regional agreement to reduce carbon emissions and mitigate climate change.
[excerpted in part from an article by Gustavo Alanis Ortega and Susan Casey-Lefkowitz, 18 Feb 2014. Ortega is the President of the Centro Mexicano de Derecho Ambiental, a Mexican environmental organization. Casey-Lefkowitz is director of the International Program at the Natural Resources Defense Council, a US-based international environmental organization.]