October 23, 2006

Canadian vehicle manufacturers respond to government’s Clean Air Act

Ottawa, Ontario – The Honourable Rona Ambrose, Minister of the Environment, introduced Canada’s Clean Air Act in Parliament on October 19.

Ambrose said short-term intensity-based greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction targets would be set in consultation with provinces and territories and all affected industry sectors. The government says it is committed to achieving an absolute reduction in GHG emissions between 45 and 65 per cent from 2003 levels by 2050.

Under the Clean Air Regulatory Agenda, over the next twelve months, the government will introduce new regulations pursuant to the Canadian Environmental Protection Act of 1999 to address air pollutants from certain consumer products and vehicles. Over the next three years, new regulations, targets and timelines will be discussed and set, which will lead to reductions in air pollution and GHG emissions from industry, transportation and consumer products, as well as new standards for energy efficiency in a range of products and appliances.

In response to the government’s announcement, the Canadian Vehicle Manufacturers’ Association (CVMA), an association whose membership includes General Motors, DaimlerChrysler, Ford and International Truck and Engine, issued a statement saying that new cars and light duty trucks contribute less than one per cent of Canada’s total smog and GHG in any year, and that smog-related emissions from new vehicles have been cut by 99 per cent since the removal of lead from gasoline in the 1970s.

The CVMA says that in 2005, Canada’s auto sector signed an agreement with targets and reporting to reduce GHG by 5.3 million tonnes by 2010, and beyond 2010, harmonized standards are key if Canada is to maintain the benefits of scale for production, technology and affordable vehicle prices. The statement says that, “Responsible strategies include cleaner and alternate fuels, consumer incentives and accelerated retirement of 20-year-old-plus vehicles.”

The CVMA disagrees with the Canadian government’s indication that all cars and light duty trucks contribute approximately 12 per cent of Canadian GHG, arguing that new vehicles contribute approximately one per cent of total Canadian GHG. “Even if every new vehicle sold in Canada could somehow be rendered emission-free, more than 99 per cent of Canada’s smog and GHG sources would remain,” the statement says. The statement also says that, “burning one cord of wood produces more smog-related emissions than driving a new SUV around the earth’s circumference 35 times. In fact, cars and light duty trucks are one of the only Canadian sources of smog emissions forecast to significantly reduce over the next decade.”

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