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

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