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Environmental Report Card



China replanted nearly six million hectares (ha) of forest and grassland to encourage carbon offset and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In Miyun, local incomes grew approximately 50% due to an increase in tourists following replanting while the number of residents living in poverty was reduced to 15%.

Water Quality and Access

Most of Canada’s population has had access to clean water for a long time. However, for many Pacific Rim countries, water access is a work in progress.

The numbers indicate Canada is doing well in terms of water quality, but there are issues we need to deal with. Canada consumes the second-largest amount of water per capita in the developed world, and yet many First Nation communities do not have access to clean drinking water. Our infrastructure is aging, and 60% of fresh water drains north—away from where it is needed most.

Recent changes to the Navigation Protection Act allow industrial projects to proceed on almost all waterways in Canada, without proving they will not harm those waterways.


Diversity of Species

Often used to measure the health of ecosystems, diversity of species is affected by technological improvements, scientific discoveries, and natural and human threats.

Air Quality

Most Pacific Rim countries have air quality initiatives in place through international organizations and agreements. Each country also has their own clean air issues to deal with.


Emissions from larger industries are reported under the National Pollutant Inventory. National initiatives address the impact of road transport on environmental quality, urban amenities, and human health.


The WHO Air Quality Index (2011) has Canada tied for third best air quality in the world. As of 2010, total emissions of sulphur dioxide have decreased by 57% since 1990.


In 2009 Japan launched the Greenhouse Gases Observing Satellite (GOSAT), the only greenhouse-gas-observing satellite in the world. In 2012 the Ministry of the Environment outlined a plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050.

New Zealand

The primary source of man-made emissions is home heating, with the exception of Auckland, where the main emissions are from transport. Man-made air pollution is associated with over 1,100 cases of premature mortality each year.


The Department of Transportation and Communications removed carbon dioxide from the list of gases monitored in motor vehicle emission tests, which does not comply with the Clean Air Act.


Air quality was improved by shifting from leaded to unleaded gasoline in 1995. However, air quality is also affected by slash-and-burn farming that, despite being officially banned, still proceeds with little enforcement from the government.

Energy Consumption

The World Energy consumption per capita is 1,851.05 kilotonnes (kt) of oil. Energy efficiency is vital to an environmentally friendly future.


Canada produces the sixth-largest amount of energy in the world. In terms of energy security, Canada is generally lower risk than the world average due to vast natural resources and a small population. But its population does waste a lot of energy (over four times more than the world average), meaning Canada scores low with the environmental metrics.

2013 Pacific Rim Cover, "Impossible Choices" Cover Story. Image of Marilou Tuzon.

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Issue 2013

Impossible Choices

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