COMMISSION FOR ENVIRONMENTAL COOPERATION
THREE COUNTRIES WORKING TOGETHER TO PROTECT OUR SHARED ENVIRONMENT
The future is, and always will be, the realm of the unknown. Still, there is much to be gained from trying to understand the range of possibilities, not only to prepare for what may be ahead but, just as importantly, to take action to chart a course toward more desirable futures.
In this report, we have reviewed what recent studies have had to say about the future of the North American environment projected to the year 2030. Although two decades hence, the year 2030 is well within the planning and policy horizons of many segments of society. The decisions we make today, and those we have made in recent years, will go a long way toward determining the kind of environment and the related social, economic and environmental challenges that will exist at that time.
Trying to see into the future is fraught with uncertainties. These include not only uncertainties about the workings of natural and social systems, but also about the choices that will be made by individuals and society as a whole. Thus, it is not surprising that there are only a limited number of studies that have made the attempt to examine the future of the environment in a structured fashion. Those that we have reviewed address the issue of uncertainty, in part, by positing plausible scenarios of the future. These are not predictions, but instead represent conditional projections based upon current knowledge and sets of assumptions about a range of developments, most importantly, societal choices.