Report: Economic Slowdown Also Slowing More Ambitious GHG Reduction Plans
Total Lithium-Ion Battery Sales Forecast To Double By 2012 to US$13.1B

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.



A similar legislation project was introduced in Quebec a few months ago but is not yet voted into law. Public consultations will take place in January-February 2009. A vote in parliament may take place in May or June 2009. The proposed legisation will reduce light vehicles (cars and light trucks) CO2 emissions by about 50% between 2010 and 2016/17.

British Columbia and Quebec already have the lowest per capital GHG in Canada. Quebec's is close to 12.1-Tonne/year and the increase from 1900 to 2005 was about +5.2% (the lowest of all provinces).

BC is at 15.4 tonne per capita per year but had an increase of 30.2% between 1990 and 2005.

The culprits per capita are Alberta with 71.7 tonnes and Saskatchwan with 70.6 tonnes. That is as bit more than 3 times the USA average and 12 times Quebec's and almost 5 times BC's.

Very large NG reserves have been found between Quebec City and Montreal. Production should start in 2010 and it could raise the per capita GHG if people switch from hydro electricity to NG for heating and cooking. Replace current wood fire places with NG may be positive.


Nice. I guess we'll likely be abandoning our "hydrogen highway" from San Diego to Whister in favour of a more realistic electric highway.

The 34 PHEV's they're converting will do well to raise awareness about how easy it would be to establish this technology.


Right. Cross your fingers and knock on wood.


We know that NG is some 30% 'cleaner than petroleum, and coal starts at around twice the emissions.
But concerns about leakage include losses from poorly designed and maintained infrastructure averaging 20% in Russia.
One could conclude that there will be at least another 5% in retail, outgassing, high pumping and transport costs etc.

There are savings ie in fast response gas turbines in power gen and efficient supply chain.
But NG is not a magic bullet.
Wood can have a very low footprint when senescent trees that are no longer absorbing carbon are replaced by active growing. Of course the possibility of raising soil carbon by wood decay is obvious despite contradictory studies and habitat benefits are not disputed except in natural bushfire scenarios .
Many of us also believe that humanities insatiable demand for energy will see alternatives like wood as a bonus and not make equivalent reductions in fossil fuel use.

There is to my knowledge no proposed solution to this area beyond carbon emissions reduction schemes, carbon credits, carbon tax, Kyoto, Bali and Copenhagen with various incentives for renewables. While that sounds good it doesn't really compete with '$5 a barrel' or ton of coal production costs coupled to market incentives.

John Taylor

The path to a sustainable future is to ditch fossil fuels altogether and use renewable energy.

That means electric cars & wind turbines.
We are not going to run out of wind.



Wood burning stoves and fireplaces are a real health hazard due to the important fine particles and many other unhealthy emissions they produce.

Forest wastes could be used to produce liquid fuel and chemicals instead of direct burning.

Using clean hydro or wind or Sun produced electricity for heating and cooking is cleaner than NG, Wood, Alternative fuels, Oil and Coal. The only exception may be Nuclear, but it is not very popular.

NG is much cleaner than oil or coal but one large NG power plant can produce as much GHG as 600 000 recent cars and up to 2 000 000 PHEVs.


Alberta has proposed coal gasification with carbon capture and storage. Under the scheme, emissions would increase until 2020, then decrease by about 30% until 2050. Essentially no change for the next 40 years, but under Harper's "intensity targets" scheme, the amount of fossil fuels pulled out of the ground increases, but because the amount of carbon emitted per widget decreases, overall emissions stay about the same. Sounds like a plan to me!!!! (This technology has never actually been used before in the real world).

Wikipedia summarizes the carbon emissions of the different power generation methods (specifically analyzing solar panels) as follows:

"Life cycle greenhouse gas emissions are now in the range of 25-32 g/kWh and this could decrease to 15 g/kWh in the future.[73] For comparison, a combined cycle gas-fired power plant emits some 400 g/kWh and a coal-fired power plant 915 g/kWh and with carbon capture and storage some 200 g/kWh. Only nuclear power and wind are better, emitting 6-25 g/kWh and 11 g/kWh on average. Using renewable energy sources in manufacturing and transportation would further drop photovoltaic emissions."


I can't see how they will make it.
Oil is about $53 / barrel, money is tight and a 33% reduction in CO2 in 11 years seems very tough.

I could imagine that they could get a 33% reduction in the CO2 emissions of new cars by 2020 - and I would hope they would, but the fleet takes 10 - 15 years to turn over, and unless there is a dramatic event (like an oil price spike - a "long one") i just can't see it happening.

The technology is there - diesel, downsizing and PHEVs, but PHEVs are mostly fairy dust - how many actually exist at present - 300?
Wake me up as they reach 1000, 10000, 100000 etc.
I would love them to succeed, and they are the best chance, but the uptake is very slow.

Andrey levin

Funny thing.

The countries and states really forcing carbon-free economies are indiscriminately worst hit by current economical crisis. Iceland, world leader of carbon-free economy, is already insolvent. UK, European leader of fighting weather change, is in worst state among European majors. In US, California, New Jersey, and New York are the first in line for financial default.

Clearly, it is not because of financial burden imposed by governments of mentioned states trying to move to carbon-free economy. It is because only clinical idiots and pathological liars (in most cases – both) could base their governing on primitive scam of Climate Change ideology.

And idiots and liars are ruining local economies because, well, they are idiots and liars.

Perhaps if CAFE standards had been more realistic over the last 8 years then hybrid drive trains would be the norm, and the process of converting to a plug in would be the fairly simple purchase and installation of a larger battery pack?

Light-weighting and improving aerodynamics would also be given more attention. Perhaps Detroit should have listened to Lovins and his hyper car.

55mph using the same energy as an SUV's air-conditioner!

Drive on, drive off trains which can recharge the vehicles on board from overhead power-lines are a possibility, and for that authentic commuting experience you can sit behind the bumper of the car in front and hurl abuse. This system would be much better suited to smaller vehicles especially electric bikes.


The very notion that a nation has to pollute to prosper can't withstand closer in-depth evaluation.

Countries that have supported and promoted such notion have failed catastrophically after a few decades.

People's health and well being are primary ingredients for sustainable development and prosperity.

Specualtors and polluters, if allowed to carry on unchecked, can ruin the most prosperous country.



USA, one of the worse world polluter is being financially hit very badly. Up-to-date, over $7000 B have been lost with more to come.

Canada, an even worse per capita polluter, will also be hit badly enough very shorthly, specially if Oil price falls much below $50/barrel.

It seems that producing and/or using polluting products does not protect you against economic turmoils.

Speculation on polluting products such as Oil and alternative fuels etc seems to be an excellent ingredient/medecine for economic turmoils.

It would be interesting to see what an extended period with $10/barrel oil price would do to the economy of the most polluting countries, specially to Canada.

Thomas Lankester


Your choices do not seem to add up. Iceland had a high percentage of its economy in the financial markets with a very vulnerable currency. It is a real stretch to say that their financial problems are not related to the global banking crisis and are somehow related to their dependence on geothermal energy. One went into melt down, the other is still pumping out the megawatts.

As for holding up the UK as a paragon of low carbon virtue - this is UK, Earth we are talking about, right?

The same one that leads in other European countries in renewables. I will name those countries it leads: Malta and Luxembourg. If you want to have a real test of your theory, see how the economies of Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Austria, Spain and Portugal are standing up relative to the UK.

Take it from a Limey. The UK is all talk and no trousers on renewables despite having the best resources in Europe.

Andrey Levin


Your house is well-insulated and energy efficient, right? As a result, you have something about 3-times higher concentration of CO2 indoors than outside, just from you breezing. Is it killing you?

Greenhouses growing tomatoes and other stuff burn natural gas (and actually wasting all its energy in process), cool the exhaust, and inject it into greenhouse, up to about 1200 ppm (triple of atmospheric) to promote growth. CO2 is not pollutant. Human organs fail if there is not enough CO2 in the room or in the bloodstream. Biologists call CO2 “elixir of life”. And no, role of CO2 as GHG is minuscule.

Second, concerning real pollutants, you mix up cause and consequence. When people of the country become rich, they begin to spend money to clean up their environment – from simple desire not to live in the dump (well, South Italy is exception). Read “environmental Kuznets curve” in Wiki, it is very telling.

Andrey levin

Thomas, you making too much sense from my rant.

Basically, what I was saying, is that Climate Change policy of the country or state is litmus test for mental and moral qualities of its politicians. The more they push AGW agenda, the dumber and more corrupt they are. Economical and social consequences of their intellectual and moral state follows.


I am wondering if Andrey even read the Kuznet's Curve article he posted, and noticed the fact that it does not apply to carbon emissions; completely the opposite.

If CO2 causes Greenland to melt, that's enough to qualify it as a hazardous emission. Whether it stimulates tomatoes to grow better is completely irrelevant. But thanks for your biochemistry sermon.

"And no, role of CO2 as GHG is minuscule."
I'd ask for a reference but I don't feel like sifting through yet more angry pseudo-scientific political rants.

Andrey levin

I am wondering if Mark even read my comment. I specifically noted “…concerning REAL pollutants…” BTW, the fact that CO2 emissions do not comply to Kuznets Curve law indicates that CO2 is not percept as pollutant by general public. Politicians – totally other story.

And Mark, if you want to go to the sources, try this:


Great reference, thanks. I'll put some effort into studying that one. That's the kind of study I want to see coming from the AGW deniers, something that is actually real science. I want to see legitimate science that legitimately challenges the consensus on AGW, because that's how science works. It remains to be seen if your reference actually supports your assertions, though.



Interesting reading to support the fact that the proper CO2 (and other gases) balance is required to support life. Too little or too much may not be so good for us. Plants can trive well on it and need more than us. Humans do not require very high CO2 level to survive.

Don't worry about our new super insulated home. We have an excellent high efficency automatic Liefebreath Heat Recovery Air circulation system + a SEER 22 Heat Pump + a NG Fire Place (for my wife and as a back-up during electrical (very rare) failures) + e-thermostats with 10 heat levels to accurately control electric heating everywhere. The ERV has two-mode operation, i.e. at selected time intervals + from a humistat control unit. It keeps the inside CO2 level very stable. A high performance ERV unit is a must for well insulated homes. A SEER 22 heat-pump does not dry the air as much as electric heaters, works very well as an A/C unit and is much more efficient.

People with higher standards of living to not necessarily produce less GHG. On the contrary, as we climb up the economic ladder, we consume much more of about everything. The over-consumption very often leads to major direct and indirect increases in GHG per capita. Americans, Canadians and Australians are perfect examples. Chinese and Indians are well on their way.

However, wiser people in Europe have managed to have similar standards of living with 50% to 65% less GHG. We may also learn how to do it within a few more decades.

After reducing our electricity consumption from 65 Kwh/day to 25 Kwh/day, I can't wait to buy a PHEV. I wouldn't mind paying up to $40K for a Camry, Accord or Volt PHEV-40+ (miles).

Thank you for the information.




I forgot. Our garage is already equipped with 110/220 VAC outlets for our PHEV. Will add an electronic 30 or 40-Amps timer in due time.

Regards, Harvey

Philip Merlow

The "consensus" on AGW is a prime reflection of its lack of authenticity since there is no such thing as consensus in the scientific method. Non-alarmist environmentalists have moved on to solving real problems as AGW theory has essentially collapsed.

BTW Mark, CO2 is a biomass fertilizer growing not only bigger tomatoes but bigger trees, grasses and plant species. Clearly enhanced forest growth means enhanced CO2 sequestration.

"...we do not currently have any convincing evidence or
observations of significant climate change from other than natural causes."
Dr. Frederick Seitz

President Emeritus, Rockefeller University
Past President, National Academy of Sciences
Past President, American Physical Society
Chairman, Science and Environmental Policy Project

February 2008

Andrey Levin


You got a cool staff!

Once I read about one company (can’t find reference, sorry) experimenting with ERV unit which has couple of CO2 sensors, and increase local rate of ventilation when CO2 level in particular room increases over comfortable level (like when you have a party in it).

Heat pump heating is booming industry here in Vancouver, where temperature at winter rarely goes below freezing and electrical heating traditionally is very popular. How heat pump is working in place with real winter?


Harvey that seems like a lot of electrical equipment to condition the air in an insulated home. At some point energy expended to control CO2 would seem to get expensive fiscally and environmentally. Couldn't you just grow more indoor plants to exchange CO2 for O2?

Never-the-less, an interesting energy system you have. Looking forward to your first PHEV charging reports.

Mr. Environment


Andrey levin said: "It is because only clinical idiots and pathological liars (in most cases – both) could base their governing on primitive scam of Climate Change ideology."

BINGO!!! We have a rational thinker on the site. BAN HIM/HER IMMEDIATELY!!! You speak heresy regarding the god of Globalwarmism.



"BTW Mark, CO2 is a biomass fertilizer growing not only bigger tomatoes but bigger trees, grasses and plant species. Clearly enhanced forest growth means enhanced CO2 sequestration."

The effect of this will be minimal, at least in terrestrial ecosystems, because the fact that most people miss is that forests do not absorb carbon dioxide, unless they are growing in biomass. So you may get faster growing tomatoes or trees or grasses, but along with this they will also die and decompose faster, releasing that carbon back into the atmosphere. Any possible mitigative effects of increased terrestrial plant growth will likely be canceled out by the amount of deforestation that will have occurred by then.

The impact of marine ecosystems is less clear, as increased CO2 may lead to more plankton growth and more deposition of biomass on the ocean's floor (essentially sequestering it). I am not knowledgeable enough about this to comment on it beyond that.

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