CBC Digital Archives CBC butterfly logo

CBC Archives has a new look: Please go to cbc.ca/archives to access the new site.

The page you are looking at will not be updated.

Measuring the success of Mulroney’s 1991 acid rain accord

The Story

The fight against acid rain is considered to be an environmental success. Fifteen years after Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and American President George Bush signed the 1991 acid rain accord, acid rain has been reduced by over 40 per cent. In 2006, it's one of the reasons why Mulroney was named the "greenest" prime minister in Canadian history. But some environmentalists are raining on his parade, saying Mulroney's accord achieved little. CBC's Margo McDiarmid checks in. 

Medium: Television
Program: The National
Broadcast Date: April 20, 2006
Guest(s): Elizabeth May, Michael Perley
Reporter: Margo McDiarmid
Duration: 2:33

Did You know?

• Since 1991, significant progress has been made in reducing sulphur dioxide, one of the key pollutants forming acid rain. According to Environment Canada, eastern Canada has cut its emissions of sulphur dioxide by more than 50 per cent. It also reports reductions in the United States.
• Despite the progress, Environment Canada studies show that the recovery of natural ecosystems such as lakes and rivers has been much slower than anticipated.

• In April 2006 Brian Mulroney was praised as the "greenest prime minister" in Canadian history by 12 prominent green Canadians. The group includes the Sierra Club's Elizabeth May and former Liberal Environment Minister Sheila Copps.
• Mulroney was singled out for the honour organized by the independent environmental magazine, Corporate Knights. He beat out former Liberal Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, who received three votes to Mulroney's five.

• During his years as prime minister, Mulroney not only initiated the acid rain accord but he introduced measures to fight ozone depletion. He also brought the U.S. onside with the 1992 UN world climate change convention in Rio de Janeiro.
• During the gala dinner at the Chateau Laurier in Ottawa, Mulroney joked that one judge called him the "best of a bad bunch."


Acid Rain: Pollution and Politics more