OTTAWA — Joanna Kyriazis, senior policy advisor at Clean Energy Canada, made the following statement regarding the implications of President Trump’s weakening of shared vehicle emission regulations:
“President Trump’s decision to dramatically weaken regulations for vehicle efficiency and pollution is reckless and misguided. Canada doesn’t have vehicle regulations of its own but has directly adopted the American rules: when they change in the U.S., they automatically change in Canada.
“This leaves the Canadian government little choice but to sever this reliance and develop made-in-Canada rules that will continue to protect Canadians’ health, environment and wallets. Failing to do so will cost Canadians hundreds of dollars per year more at the pumps and lead to millions of tonnes of unnecessary carbon pollution.
“The current regulations—designed by the Obama administration and adopted by former Prime Minister Stephen Harper—were a no-brainer, requiring automakers to build increasingly clean, efficient vehicles. They deliver cheaper commutes, cleaner air and help fight climate change.
“Polling has shown two-thirds of Canadians were supportive of the current vehicle emission standards. They frequently cited cutting pollution, improving public health, improving vehicle efficiency, and spending less on gas as reasons for their support.
“If you look around the world, it’s clear that hybrid and electric vehicles are set to become the new norm. Car companies in Germany and China are racing toward that fast-approaching future. Countries like the U.K. and France, meanwhile, are banning gas- and diesel-powered vehicles within a couple decades. We need to ensure the right signals are sent to the Canadian auto sector so that they can thrive in the years to come.
“The federal government had already signalled its intent to preserve strong regulations, aligning Canada with other jurisdictions like California that want to protect these benefits for citizens and spur auto sector innovation. It’s time for Canada to follow through.”
- Light-duty vehicles account for 11% of Canada’s total emissions. Environment and Climate Change Canada estimates that the current regulations will net an overall reduction of 18 Mt CO2 equivalent by 2030, or 3.1% of Canada’s predicted total emissions reductions.
- The International Council on Clean Transportation forecasts that the average car built to comply with 2025 standards will save about $383 per year on fuel. That same analysis finds that pickup trucks and SUVs built to 2025 standards would see an annual savings of $662.
- In a recent public opinion survey conducted by Pollara on behalf of Clean Energy Canada, two-thirds of Canadians were supportive of the current vehicle emission standards. They frequently cited cutting pollution, improving public health, improving vehicle efficiency, and spending less on gas as reasons for their support.
- When asked whether the federal government should maintain, strengthen or freeze the standards in 2020, just 14% favoured a freeze (compared to 27% who said strengthen, and 36% who said maintain).
- Exposure to air pollution can increase the likelihood of heart disease, chronic respiratory diseases, and diabetes—conditions that experts are starting to link to COVID-19 death rates.
- A 2003 study on the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) virus found that in regions with moderate air pollution, patients were 84% more likely to die relative to those living in regions with low air pollution.
- The European Public Health Alliance is urging governments to prioritize reductions in vehicle pollution to avoid unnecessary deaths during future outbreaks.
Op-ed | “High gas prices? There’s a policy for that, and it helps combat climate change” (National Observer)
Poll | Light-Duty Vehicle Emission Standards in Canada: Public Perspectives and Preferences (Pollara and Clean Energy Canada)