This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

June 26, 2002

Environment Commissioners Respond to NAFTA Electricity Report

The environment commissioners for the United States, Canada, and Mexico held an annual meeting on June 18th and 19th in their capacity as the executive council for the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC). The CEC was established by Canada, Mexico and the United States to build cooperation among the partners in implementing the environmental accords included in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Christie Whitman, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator, serves as the U.S. environment commissioner.

Among other topics, last week's council meeting reviewed a recent advisory board report that examined environmental challenges and opportunities in the North American electricity market. As reported in the June 19th issue of EREN Network News, that report recommended forming a carbon emissions trading system among the NAFTA members and promoting energy efficiency and renewable energy within North America.

In response to the report, the commissioners agreed to several actions, including the establishment of a North American Air Working Group to provide guidance to the council and facilitate future cooperative work on air related issues. The council also agreed to study the issues related to emissions trading systems and to perform comparative studies of the air quality controls and power station emission standards used in each country. In addition, the council agreed to support further analysis related to the environmental aspects of development of renewable energy markets; public awareness and education; consistency of databases; emerging renewable low-impact energy technology development and commercialization; transmission and distribution of emerging renewable electricity; and promotion of energy efficiency and combined heat and power. See the commissioners' announcement on the CEC Web site.

The CEC might get a head start on its analysis activities by drawing on the results of the Energy Analysis Forum 2002, hosted by DOE's National Renewable Energy Laboratory in collaboration with DOE and the EPA. This year's forum examined analysis related to the role of renewable energy in air-quality improvement. The full presentations from the forum are available on the NREL Energy Analysis Web site.