What are Environmental Challenges?

By Ambassador Michael Froman

Today’s environmental challenges are staggering in their severity and scope. Iconic animals such as elephants and rhinoceros, as well as lesser known species, such as the pangolin, saola, vaquita, and totoaba are under threat from wildlife trafficking. Illegal fishing is driving global economic losses in the billions each year while depleting treasured marine resources. While illegal logging is damaging ecosystems and undercutting sustainable, regulated business.

Trade agreements are a vital tool for combatting these global threats. Two decades ago, environmental provisions under NAFTA were relegated to a side agreement, with only a single enforceable obligation to “effectively enforce your own environmental laws.” In contrast, our most recent trade agreements contain extensive, enforceable environmental commitments. These commitments are subject to the same dispute settlement procedures as other commercial obligations, including recourse to trade sanctions in the event of a violation.

Enforceable commitments to protect the environment, coupled with targeted technical assistance and capacity building, can result in important environmental progress on the ground. Even under our early trade agreements, with more limited environmental provisions, we have helped our trading partners countries put in place over 700 new or improved environmental and/or conservation laws, policies and regulations. Millions of people have been reached through environmental and public awareness campaigns, and thousands of miles of land are under improved national resources management.

Environmental Challenges

Major Environmental Challenges

What is Environmental Challenges?

Global Environmental Challenges