British Columbia Joins California Challenge of Denial of Automotive GHG Waiver; Province Converting 34 Vehicles to Plug-in Electrics
The Province of British Columbia, Canada (BC) has filed a legal brief with the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in support of California’s legal challenge to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which denied a waiver to implement the AB 1493 (Pavley) greenhouse gas emissions standard for vehicles. (Earlier post.)
BC introduced legislation in April that allows adoption of California greenhouse gas emission standards for vehicles. The California model will achieve greater GHG emission reductions than the proposed US federal fuel economy standards that have also been committed to by Canada as a minimum starting in 2011. An analysis by the staff of the California Air Resources Board concluded that implementing the Pavley rules in Canada would result in a cumulative total of 87 MMT of GHG reductions by calendar year 2020, compared to 58 MMT of GHG reductions achieved by the proposed federal standards.(Earlier post.)
Seventeen US states have adopted, or are in the process of adopting, the California model, while six others are actively considering it. Twelve out of Canada’s 13 provinces and territories have committed to the greenhouse gas standards, with Quebec now in the process of making final revisions to its draft regulations. Together, these states and provinces have a combined population of 176 million and represent nearly half of all new car sales in the US and Canada, according to the statement from the BC Ministry of Environment.
BC’s decision to file the legal brief is one more example of our strong working relationship with California. Higher standards are an important part of BC’s goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 33 per cent by 2020 through lower emissions from new vehicles, while providing choice and savings for consumers.—Environment Minister Barry Penner
The BC Government reviewed and accepted the recommendations of its Climate Action Team (CAT) for interim greenhouse gas reduction (GHG) targets, establishing a GHG reduction target of 6% below 2007 levels by 2012 and 18% by 2016. The 2012 and 2016 targets will be legally mandated, through regulation, by the end of 2008.
In November 2007, the government put into law British Columbia’s target of reducing GHG emissions by at least 33% below 2007 levels by 2020 and 80% by 2050 with the passing of the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Targets Act. The Act also requires that realistic, economically viable interim targets for 2012 and 2016 be set by the end of 2008. The government established the Climate Action Team (CAT) to recommend the interim targets.
The Climate Action Plan, released in June, outlines initiatives that will take British Columbia approximately 73 per cent of the way to the 2020 target. The government is reviewing additional strategies put forward by the CAT in areas such as emissions pricing, transportation, buildings, agriculture, forestry, and energy, to fill the remaining gap.
BC Converting 34 Vehicles to Plug-ins. BC is investing nearly C$400,000 (US$325,000) to support plug-in electric vehicles and related monitoring equipment around BC. There will be up to 34 plug-in electric vehicles in operation and being monitored in the province. The initial vehicles are four Toyota Prius converted to plug-in hybrid electric and two pick-up trucks converted to plug-in battery electric.
The investment is part of a broader plug-in electric vehicle program led by the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources. The program has the plug-in electric transportation working group, led by the Province, and includes the ministries of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, Transportation and Infrastructure, Environment, and Labour and Citizens’ Services, as well as the Climate Action Secretariat, City of Vancouver, Green Fleets BC, BC Hydro, the British Columbia Transmission Corporation and the University of Victoria’s Institute for Integrated Energy Systems.
The working group will:
Complete technical studies on impacts and opportunities for plug-in vehicles in the electricity system, using models and data collected from the program vehicles.
Deliver a government-developed policy paper with public input that includes policy recommendations related to plug-in electric transportation.
Work with industry, educational institutions and other stakeholders to support the deployment of additional plug-in vehicles and related charging infrastructure throughout the province.
Work with local educational institutions and industry to support local capacity in the plug-in electric transportation sector.
This is a great chance to look at the opportunities for plug-in vehicles in BC’s transportation system while reducing our fleet’s emissions in the short term. This puts our province in the vanguard when it comes to alternative transportation technology.—Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Kevin Falcon
The increased use of plug-in electric vehicle technology is part of a broader sustainable energy strategy that will help the Province reach its goal of curbing greenhouse gas emissions by 33% by 2020. In addition, plug-in electric vehicles support the Province’s goal as outlined in the speech from the throne to reduce the carbon intensity of all passenger vehicles by 10% by 2020.