December 10, 2002
Canadian Auto Workers Union supports Kyoto Protocol
Toronto, Ontario – Almost 1,000 delegates to the CAW Council, a national
body of elected leaders of the Canadian Auto Workers union, voted unanimously
last weekend to adopt a position paper supporting the ratification and
implementation of the Kyoto Protocol on greenhouse gas pollution.
The paper calls on the federal government to ratify the Kyoto treaty, and
to dedicate meaningful resources to the regulations, incentives, and
investments that will be required not only to meet the Kyoto targets, but to
do it in an economically positive manner.
“The federal government’s credibility as a defender of the environment is
dependent on its willingness to put real resources, and real regulatory
muscle, into a more credible Kyoto implementation plan.” the paper states.
“The government should be setting aside billions of dollars to support
innovation, investment, and adjustment in a range of affected industries. So
far, however, the government seems committed to doing Kyoto ‘on the cheap’.”
“The CAW rejects the false choice that has been set up by the corporate
lobbyists, between protecting our jobs and protecting the environment,” said
CAW President Buzz Hargrove after the resolution was unanimously supported.
“In fact, if it promotes more investment, more innovation, and more work, then
implementing Kyoto will clearly be good for the economy, not bad.”
Regarding impacts of the Kyoto Protocol on the auto industry, the CAW
paper supports the federal goal of a 25 percent increase in average fuel
efficiency for new vehicles sold in Canada, but notes that these improvements
must be implemented carefully so as to not harm Canadian-based motor vehicle
production. In particular, fuel standards should be set by weight class of
vehicle (not on a corporate-average basis), and must be set in conjunction
with standards in the U.S. and Mexico (since assembly facilities in all three
countries serve an integrated continental market). The paper notes that
European and Japanese automakers are already implementing efficiency
improvements of 23-33 percent as part of their Kyoto commitments; investing in
energy efficiency has hardly harmed the competitiveness of those producers.
Other measures supported by the CAW which could strengthen the auto
industry while reducing vehicle emissions include investments in early
commercial production in Canada of low-emission and zero-emission vehicles;
support for environmental investments by automakers; incentives for the
retirement of older less efficient vehicles; and extended producer
responsibility rules to spark energy-saving automotive recycling.
The full CAW discussion paper is posted at