|Projected increase in greenhouse gas emissions in Canada. Click to enlarge.
Declaring that “the era of voluntary compliance is over, ” Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has said that for the first time ever, Canada “will regulate the fuel efficiency of motor vehicles, beginning with the 2011 model year.”
Harper said that his government would also move to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from major industrial sectors. His speech came in the wake of the recent release of the first volume of the fourth assessment report of climate change by the IPCC (earlier post), and in the context of Canada’s rapidly worsening greenhouse gas emissions situation.
Our government supports a concerted global effort to deal with climate change—and such an effort must include the major emitters, including the United States and China.
But we cannot ask others to act unless we are prepared to start at home, with real action on greenhouse gases and air pollution. After more than a decade of inaction on air quality and greenhouse gasses, Canada has one of the worst records in the developed world.
The previous government committed to ambitious greenhouse gas targets, and then presided over a 27% increase.
...for the first time ever, we will set out enforceable regulatory targets for the short, medium and long term. The era of voluntary compliance is over.
By 2010 Canada’s emissions would be about 46% above the targets it had agreed to hit by 2012 under the Kyoto Protocol on climate change. That’s up from 35 percent above the target in 2004, the latest year for which data are available.
Canada currently does not regulate vehicle fuel economy, but it tracks US CAFE standards through voluntary action by automakers.