Regulating trucks is not enough!
OTTAWA — The federal government has confirmed Canada will follow the Obama administration's efforts to reduce pollution from the trucking industry through new proposed regulations introduced Friday.
The Canadian plan to introduce regulations to cap emissions from new heavy trucks comes nearly eight months after the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in the United States finalized their own standards.
"Since the transportation sector makes up nearly one-quarter of all emissions (in Canada), any climate change strategy must take a hard look at what happens on our highways," Canadian Environment Minister Peter Kent said, speaking at a trucking company near Montreal. "That's exactly what we're doing today."
Environment Canada anticipates the regulations will set standards for new vehicles starting in the 2014 model year and result in reductions equivalent to removing about 650,000 personal vehicles from the road.
The estimated reductions would also be equivalent to about three megatonnes of carbon dioxide emissions in 2020. The government has anticipated it still needs to eliminate about 175 megatonnes of CO2 equivalent emissions by 2020 to meet its own climate-change target.
Emissions projections from Environment Canada indicate the government will not be able to meet its target without putting a cap on growth from the oilsands sector, which is cancelling out reductions made by other industries.
"Today's announcement is further proof of the need for a comprehensive climate plan that includes a cap on all industrial emissions," said John Bennett, executive director of Sierra Club Canada. "The projected growth in emissions from oil and gas production will render the investment by the trucking industry meaningless just as they have swamped Ontario's shutdown of coal plants."
Kent has said the government is still consulting with the oil and gas industry on potential regulations.
Climate scientists and governments from around the world have agreed that peer-reviewed research demonstrates the planet must dramatically reduce the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere to avoid seeing average global temperatures rise by more than 2 C above pre-industrial levels.
The two-degree threshold is considered by most governments around the world to be a tipping point that would cause irreversible damage to the planet's ecosystems and economy.
The latest proposed regulations from Environment Canada follow a similar collaboration with the Obama administration to reduce emissions from new passenger vehicles.