Back in 1989, Environment Probe campaigned to turn free trade to the environment’s advantage. Since then, the environmental impacts of free trade have been hotly debated. Critics have rightly pointed out that, in theory, governments may be hamstrung in imposing certain environmental standards. But other enterprising environmentalists have capitalized on free trade to reduce subsidies to—and raise standards in—our environmentally destructive resource sectors.
Our panel of two executives and one environmentalist agrees that unsound practices can be corrected by an evolving price system. After pressure from industry and business, the federal government is now conducting cross-country hearings on the environment. Financial Times staff writer Jeb Blount spoke with three Canadians concerned about the relationship between business and the environment — Adam Zimmerman, chairman and CEO of Noranda Forest Inc., Peter Allen, president and CEO of Lac Minerals Ltd., and Larry Solomon, executive director of Environment Probe, a Toronto environmental think-tank — about environmental policy in Canada.
Since the first Earth Day in 1970, there has been a lot of good news on the environment. The deserts of the Sahel may not be spreading after all. And Lake Erie is no longer dead; its waters now team with tens of millions of walleye. But the best environmental news of all is the opening of the Berlin Wall and the democratization of Latin America.