Environmental Indicators for Canada and the United States (1998)

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This document is designed to give the reader an overview of national environmental quality in Canada and the United States. It does not attempt to develop indicators for global controversies such as tropical rainforest deforestation, climate change, and bio-diversity. Most of the data in this report come from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Objectives of the study

This document is designed to give the reader an overview of national environmental quality in Canada and the United States. While the indicators include many local or regional environmental issues, such as the air quality of selected cities, the goal of this study is to provide a ``big picture' of general, nationwide environmental trends in both countries. It does not attempt to develop indicators for global controversies such as tropical rainforest deforestation, climate change, and bio-diversity.
Most of the data in this report come from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (oecd) Environmental Data Compendium 1995. Where oecd survey results were unavailable, data were supplemented by information from the Environmental Protection Agency (epa), Environment Canada, or other official government sources.

The indicators are divided into primary and secondary categories. Within each category, there are several subsections. Primary environmental indicators include information about air quality, water quality, natural resources, land use and condition, and solid wastes. These indicators provide direct information about environmental quality. The secondary indicators include often cited environmental measures such as carbon-dioxide emissions, oil spills, numbers of wildlife species, use of pesticides, and toxic releases. These indicators are considered ``secondary' since they provide only indirect information about environmental quality. In the final section of the report, the trend in environmental performance for the primary environmental indicators is compiled into an index. The index shows considerable improvement in the environmental performance of both Canada and the United States.


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