From north of the border, more of the standard emissions


Canada’s government has been “working toward” emissions standards like the ones Barack Obama allowed California to impose “for the past year,” Jim Prentice just said on the brooooadcast. I’m looking into that. Fun fact: Canada’s government has been in power for three years; President Obama for six days.

UPDATE: Well, here’s something, I guess.

UPDATER: Ah. Baird was “working on an aggressive, dominant North American standard” with George W. Bush, who was blocking California from implementing its own standard, a little more than a year ago. And his successor, Prentice, was careful to say on Don Newman’s show just now that Canada still wants standards set “at the national level.” Obama just blew that whole stalling tactic up. Canada’s government will have to spend some part of the next year working toward a new talking point.


The federal government appears to have missed a key legislated benchmark to bring in new fuel-efficiency standards that will help Canada reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, which cause global warming.

Moreover, the failure of the federal government to meet the deadline could end up costing the beleaguered auto industry money and jobs…

Almost a year ago, Lawrence Cannon, then the federal transport minister, vowed to publish new fuel-efficiency standards by the end of 2008. Those standards, he said at the time, would take effect with the 2011 model year.

“We made a commitment to implement fuel-consumption regulations for the 2011 model year that are benchmarked against a stringent, dominant North American standard, and we are keeping our word,” Mr. Cannon said on Jan. 17, 2008…

By failing to publish the new figure by the end of 2008, the earliest the government could force car companies to meet new standards would be the 2012 model year, a year later than Mr. Cannon had promised…

Chris Day, press secretary to Transport Minister John Baird, said Canada believes it’s best there is one North American standard, and not one for each country or separate ones for provinces or states.


From north of the border, more of the standard emissions

  1. Surely there’s a human rights tribunal out there somewhere that will take you to task for making fun of Don Newman.

    • His reports could be their own punishment… (I kid, I kid!)

  2. I’m starting to like this Administration. We can probably get all the policy direction we need from Obama, while keeping our old new govt for comic light relief.

  3. Nice to see high calibre people like you getting into environmental issues, Paul. Things will start to happen now.

    See if you can get Macleans to send you to Fort Mac for a year, scoping out the tar sands and its effects on our emission targets. . It ain’t Paris but I hear you can get a dish of boiled porcupine quills. I hear they taste a bit like “escargot” or, as we call ’em, snails.

    • while yr at it maybe Maclean’s can send him over to the local reserve to sample the fish, the ones they’ve been complaining about tasting like plastic. Maybe their budget could stretch to sending to Fort Chip to sample the water downstream of Fort Mac? Tragically it may be causing cancers. Still natives drive like the rest of us, guess they’ll just have to suck it up!

  4. The Cons should be working hard as possible to scuttle this idea, not going along with it.

    CAFE program is a major reason why Detroit 3 don’t make money and making it even harder for them to produce affordable cars people want does not seem like a good idea at the moment.

    And most of the vehicles that are produced in Canada will not reach new standards. Either American carmakers are going to stop producing many of their Canadian vehicles or taxpayers are going to be on the hook for even more money to pay for retooling of plants.

    Making automakers produce even more vehicles that people don’t want, at a higher price, does not seem sensible at all.

  5. I have been a converted Obama fan for some time. But this move is nutty.

    The timing is bad and having two standards in the country is silly. All this for a 2016 target vs. 2020?

    Can Obama tell me how many inches of sea level he’s just dropped with this move?

    Better yet, can any of you?

    • Ah yes, getting consensus of 50 state governments within one legislative assembly period. Simple! Plus, I give 50/50 odds on the resulting standard being weaker than the present legislation.

      Someone has to stand at the front of a line. Since Harper won’t, Bush wouldn’t, most provinces and states won’t, maybe California and 13 (13!) states can stand there, and make a trend.

  6. The current government still thought it could get away with magic-pill solutions like carbon sequestration. That hasn’t been working, but they’re still spinning it as a viable solution to delay discussion on the real options.

    Further reading:
    Only the truth can
    be embellished

    • finalspin: “to delay discussion on the real options.” “real options” for what? . . .yes. that’s what I thought. I believe that most the efforts to reduce CO2 emmissions are aptly decribed by the old Southern expression “barking up a tree where there ain’t no coons.”

      • Rsoe21: talking to yourself and using animal metaphors does not make for clear communication. It’s hard to understand exactly what you’re trying to say. Several possibilities:
        a) Canada is only responsible for a small portion of the world’s ‘greenhouse gases’, thus we can only have a negligible effect on the situation. So we shouldn’t do anything.
        b) The other ways of reducing greenhouse gases are also ineffective – can’t keep the cows from farthin’. So we shouldn’t do anything.
        c) Greenhouse gases don’t really cause a greenhouse effect. It’s a myth fabricated by the United Nations to take control of the world’s wealth and redistribute it to undeserving countries. So we shouldn’t do anything.
        d) The earth isn’t warming up (see c). So we shouldn’t do anything.

        Pick one or make up something new.

        I like those new board, we can have a conversation without bothering everybody else.

  7. Fourteen states in total: California plus Arizona, Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington (plus the District of Columbia), which are suing, not for the right to set their own standards, which might make “patchwork” accusations credible, but to join the California standards. Note that this group of states comprises a little less than half the American automobile population. This study argues that the plans the Big Three automakers submitted to Congress in December will result in compliance with the California emission standards by 2015.

  8. Harper was Bush-lite. That’s going to look awfully silly next to Obama.

  9. I believe Canadians are beginning to feel like Americans after the 2004 election.

  10. P.Wells..

    I think this issue is where Harper and Obama line up well on. They both want to look like they are doing somthing, but the economy will take precident..

    I have a feeling that somthing is already some what worked out….

    • Con capacity for self-delusion is unlimitted.

  11. ” This study argues that the plans the Big Three automakers submitted to Congress in December will result in compliance with the California emission standards by 2015″

    If that’s the case, then why bother? When there’s a planet to save, should we really be rewarding glitzy fake action?

    Oh, at least in my own personal paradise, Vermont, its not the big three we’re worried about, its all those gas-guzzling, AWD subarus with Obama stickers on the bumpers. As for Pittsburgh, New York and Boston – and Los Angeles – the states haven’t done a terrific job on infrastructure to feel so ignored. They’ve been pretty good at ignoring the problem.

    Since the economy is job one anyway, let’s take a timeout and backup to the Stern report.

    • Your confidence in the Big Three’s willingness to fulfill the plans they submitted to Congress without a little extra coaxing is heartening.

  12. Remember the green car rebate, where the federal government would send you $1000 – $2000 if you bought a car on the list?

    Not available on 2009 models.

    Mind you, it was a bullshit list. But now Tories are actually canceling their fake policies to seem green.

  13. If i read between the lines of Newsweek correctly, Obama can just tell the sea to go back to its original level. So, I don’t wee why he is so worried about emissions.

    The big 3 can comply by 2015, but not profitably. If you want this emissions racket rammed through forget about GM Oshawa ever re-opening. Why not forget about imposing company wide average fuel economies. in essence drawing the line around one corprorations fleet of products is kind of an arbitrary barrier and not suited to current economic realtiy. Let the big 3 compete using the product line they are good at building like trucks. Jobs or the environment. You guys decide. Greens jobs? Planting trees is shovel ready, but the rest is a fantasy.

  14. The arguments in the comments don’t make any sense.

    The Big 3 were already in trouble–the credit crisis just pushed them over the edge. People DIDN’T want the cars they were producing before, that’s why the foreign car manufacturers were able to eat into their market share so severely.

    And the foreign car manufacturers were able to build more fuel efficient vehicles. Maybe they aren’t up to Califiornia emissions standards, I don’t know since I haven’t studied what California standards require. But one thing is certain; the Big 3 or North American manufacturers will soon be out of business altogether if they don’t get on the green bandwagon.

    Obviously, too, having fifty or sixty different ‘standards’ throughout North America is bunk. Even if each state and each province writes its own standards, it is patently ridiculous to think a car company won’t look at the toughest and manufacture their cars to comply. I hardly think, say, Georgia is going to insert “without going over” into its standards so the lesser standards will be a moot point.

    We’ve seen the progress that is made without laws forcing the car companies to change their ways (or am I the only person in the world that remembers the 1970s?) We’ve been talking about more efficient vehicles, alternative fuel sources, and electric cars for the last thirty plus years. The timing is wrong? You betcha! This should have been done long ago.

  15. “Your confidence in the Big Three’s willingness to fulfill the plans they submitted to Congress without a little extra coaxing is heartening”

    errr, ahhh, ummmm.


  16. Tsk – shirley it’s “brooooadcast TM” – isn’t it?
    Newman was guffawing – in his unique style – with the Duff yesterday – as the Senator for PEI tried to persuade him to make the leap and join him and Sen. Pamela Wallen in the Upper Chamber…
    I guess – if the Liberals do form a government at some time in the near future – and needed to rebalance the Senator to its previous skew – Newman might just be a candidate for the Red side of the house…

  17. Getting things done!
    Thirteen years!
    Getting things done!