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Subject: BCTA Responds to On-Road Diesel Emissions Test Results
(Posted on Apr 12, 2013 at 08:25AM by Media Manager)
Tags:

British Columbia Trucking Association
Responds to On-Road Diesel Emissions Test Results


As the Metro Vancouver Environment & Parks Committee discussed the results of its On-Road Heavy Duty Vehicle Program at a regular meeting today, April 11, 2013, BCTA informed the media that the report on the program confirmed what we’ve said all along: a mandatory AirCare-like emissions testing program for trucks would be wasteful and unnecessary.

The On-Road Heavy Duty Vehicle Program tested emissions from over 11,700 semi-trailer trucks, dump trucks, motor coaches, and other heavy-duty vehicles from July to October 2012. According to the resulting report, Remote Sensing Device Trial for Monitoring Heavy-Duty Vehicle Emissions, most trucks tested are operating within the standards mandated for with their particular engine year, and emissions from newer trucks reflect the increasingly stringent engine emissions standards that were introduced in the 1990s and tightened significantly in 2007 and again in 2010.

In our media release responding to the report, Louise Yako, BCTA’s President & CEO, commented that, given the report’s findings, a “large-scale AirCare-like emissions testing program for trucks would impose unreasonable costs on the industry and produce very limited results.” She pointed to an emissions testing program for heavy-duty trucks in Ontario that has produced a failure rate of less than four percent. “As older trucks are retired and replaced with newer, cleaner trucks, diesel emissions will naturally decline over time, making an onerous and expensive testing program unnecessary.”

The report will be discussed by the full Metro Vancouver Board on April 26 with a recommendation to submit the report to the Minister of Environment requesting the development of policy and program options over the next two years for addressing air emissions from on-road heavy-duty vehicles, potentially including road-side vehicle emissions testing (although this is just one option). The Committee report noted that “costs, effectiveness and consistency with other objectives (for example, greenhouse gas emissions) will be key criteria in selecting an appropriate program to pursue.”

The study was commissioned by Metro Vancouver in collaboration with the Fraser Valley Regional District, AirCare, Port Metro Vancouver and the BC ministries of Environment and Transportation & Infrastructure.

For complete details, please see the report on the On-Road Heavy Duty Vehicle Program at the link above, which also includes the accompanying submission and recommendations to the Environment & Parks Committee. BCTA will provide an update in a future Bulletin.

Background

In May 2012, BC Environment Minister Terry Lake announced that the government would phase out AirCare testing for light cars and trucks in the Lower Mainland and the Fraser Valley by the end of 2014. However, Metro Vancouver also commented at the same time that heavy-duty vehicle emissions would be the next target for reductions. BCTA defended the industry, saying that, among other improvements, US diesel engine standards have progressively required the reduction of particulate matter and other pollutants since 1990, regulations that have affected BC carriers, since most operate vehicles with US-manufactured engines.



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Subject: EU carbon market debate leans to tighter pollution cap
(Posted on Mar 3, 2013 at 06:32PM by Media Manager)
Tags:

EU Tightens Heading Towards Tightening Emission Cap


Hours of debate on reform of the European Union's Emissions Trading Scheme on Friday showed support for tighter annual pollution limits, but hardly any backing for a change to an overall EU 2020 goal on carbon cutting.

Both measures would reduce the oversupply of carbon allowances, which pushed the EU ETS to a record low of less than €3 per tonne earlier this year.

The price collapse means the ETS, a core piece of EU environment policy, is unable to engineer a shift to lower carbon energy, prompting the European Commission to propose a combination of short-term and long-term changes.

Long-term plans, debated on Friday by an audience including industry and environmentalists, include raising the EU 2020 carbon reduction goal to 30 per cent from 20 per cent.

"No matter how strongly I tried to force your hands, there are only very few in favour," Artur Runge-Metzger, head of international climate policy at the Commission, said. "There is not a lot of support."

Other ways of tackling the oversupply of allowances, such as permanently removing some of the surplus and bringing forward revision of a cap on how much big emitters are allowed to pollute, generated more enthusiasm.

"We are pleading to revise the linear factor before 2020 to a range of 2.3 per cent," Hans ten Berge, secretary general of Eurelectric, which represents the European electricity sector, said.

Permanent removal of allowances might be needed, he added.

For now the total amount - or cap - on how much greenhouse gas big emitters can produce decreases by 1.74 per cent annually.

When proposing its long and short-term measures last year, the Commission said it hoped for agreement on a temporary withdrawal of surplus allowances in time for the current phase of the carbon market (2013-2020), but the proposal has hit stiff resistance.

Member state debate has been paralyzed by the refusal of dominant EU member state Germany to take a stance and strong opposition from Poland, which is heavily dependent on carbon-intensive coal.

Only a minority would scrap the ETS

Friday's all-day meeting was a consultation of interested parties, including representatives of member states, utilities, energy-intensive industries and green groups. There will be further consultation in April.

Around 200 written submissions to the Commission revealed a small minority believed the ETS should be scrapped, with most saying a functioning ETS was the most cost-effective way to engineer a shift towards a lower carbon energy mix.

There are, however, deep divisions over whether intervention in the market is justified and what form it should take.

Energy intensive industries, including chemicals, fertilisers and cement, echoed the Polish view that the weakness of ETS allowances reflects economic weakness and measures to drive their price higher could add to economic burdens.

In the opposite camp, environment campaigners, utilities and some academics say the lack of incentive to invest in low carbon energy augments costs and robs governments of revenue.

It also means renewable energy will require subsidies as the ETS is too cheap to force a switch towards low carbon fuel.

"There are significant negative fiscal effects. It means we have to raise the money somewhere else," Frank Convery of University College Dublin told Friday's Brussels meeting.

"We have hoped in Ireland for a price of about €30 a tonne. There would not be any need to subsidise (renewables, such as wind)," he said. "The downside of non-intervention is much greater than the upside."

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Subject: U.S. President Barack Obama's State of the Union
(Posted on Feb 24, 2013 at 07:33PM by Media Manager)
Tags:



U.S. President Barack Obama's state of the union message to
act swiftly on climate change will have an impact on Canada,
says the U.S. ambassador to Canada.


U.S. President Barack Obama's state of the union message to act swiftly on climate change will have an impact on Canada, says the U.S. ambassador to Canada.

Obama used Tuesday's speech to present Congress with a choice: either agree to market-based solutions to climate change, or else the president will use his executive powers to achieve the same result.

U.S. Ambassador David Jacobson said in an interview Wednesday on CBC News Network's Power & Politics that the message to move more aggressively against climate change was aimed at Congress but "obviously there are things about our policies that have significant impact to Canada."

"I believe what he was trying to say was that we, in the U.S., have to do better with respect to carbon, we have to do better with respect to climate change," Jacobson told host Evan Solomon.

The U.S. envoy went on to say, "the president is very serious that we need to do a better job with respect to our carbon footprint — he believes that global warming is a real problem. There is no question, it's a priority."

It was the signal many environmentalists in Canada have been waiting for.

"I see opportunity," said Megan Leslie, the NDP's outspoken environment critic.

"Canadians have not been well-represented by our government on action on climate change. Fortunately for Canadians, though, the Harper Conservatives will have little choice but to follow suit or risk our trading relationship with our biggest partner."

U.S. action on climate change has been piecemeal over the past few years as Obama's initiatives met with stiff Republican resistance. Ottawa has vowed to move no faster than the U.S. for fear of risking Canada's competitive advantage.

Indeed, Conservative MPs have made a daily sport out of criticizing carbon taxes and cap-and-trade schemes.

But now that Obama has suggested he wants to crack down on emissions, either through a market-based approach or regulations, Canada is going to have to regroup, said Alex Wood, senior director at Sustainable Prosperity, an Ottawa-based think tank.

"The question is whether we will be able to keep up," he said. "We may have to pay a price for not having a serious policy around climate change."

Ottawa has opted to take a regulatory approach to emissions, imposing restrictions on industry sector by sector in a process that is taking many years to unfold and decades to implement. At last count, federal and provincial measures taken together still only get Canada half way to meeting its emissions reductions targets by 2020.

That leaves the as-yet-unregulated oil and gas sector to make up most of the difference, and negotiations with that industry and Alberta are proving difficult.

Still, the initial government reaction to Obama's climate change agenda was nonchalant.

Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver said the president's speech contained a little bit for everyone on all sides of the climate debate.

"And therefore I don't feel any different than I did before the speech," he said.

While Environment Minister Peter Kent has suggested in the past that Canada might consider a cap-and-trade system to control emissions if the United States moves in that direction, Oliver was dismissive of that idea Wednesday.

"This is quite speculative. It doesn't look like Congress would be supportive of that. They've rejected it historically, and we're not in that space," Oliver told reporters in Ottawa.

Still, there are signs federal ministers are feeling some pressure to up their game on the emissions front, especially with the controversial Keystone XL pipeline from the Alberta oilsands through the United States hanging in the balance. Oliver and Kent have both recently spoken about the need "to do more" on Canada's environmental credentials.

Last week, after meeting with new U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird told reporters that "when it comes to the environment , I think we have like-minded objectives."

"Prime Minister Harper and President Obama have both set a 17 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, we've worked very well together on reducing vehicle emissions for cars, for light trucks. Canada is aggressively moving forward on our plan to ban and phase out dirty coal fire electricity generation, and we'll continue to focus on that."

"I think we all share the need for a growing economy to create jobs, we share on the desire for energy security in North America, and we also share the objective of protecting our environment for future generations. Those will be areas where we continue to work together," Baird said.

Keystone XL pipeline project

Obama did not mention the pipeline in Tuesday's speech, but he faced calls from organized labour and the petroleum industry on Wednesday to approve the project immediately — even as protesters in the U.S. geared up for a demonstration against it this weekend.

In a preview of further protests planned for Sunday, prominent U.S. environmental leaders — including Michael Brune, the executive director of the Sierra Club — were arrested Wednesday after tying themselves to the White House gate.

Activist Bill McKibben, actress Daryl Hannah, civil rights leader Julian Bond and environmental lawyer Robert F. Kennedy Jr. were also arrested, along with several dozen other activists.

Washington-based stakeholders from both sides of the border increasingly suspect Obama is going to try to extract from the oil industry and Republicans some kind of quid pro quo — either a carbon-pricing scheme or limits on greenhouse emissions from existing power plants in exchange for approving Keystone.

"He's a deal-maker," said a source close to the Keystone discussions not authorized to speak to the media. "He wants to get something in return, whichever way he goes."

Such chatter underlines the fact that Canada and the U.S. are "on very different trajectories" since there is no indication that Environment Canada would entertain putting a market price on carbon, said Clare Demerse, director of federal policy for the Pembina Institute, an energy and environment think tank.

Obama's new-found determination on greenhouse gases will no doubt prompt him to assess the Keystone pipeline through an environmental lens, Demerse said. If that pipeline is filled with oilsands bitumen, the implications for emissions are major, both in Canada and the U.S.

Jacobson would not predict when Obama's Keystone decision will come, but told Solomon the president "is trying to figure out – whether it's Keystone, whether its climate change legislation – the appropriate balance between our need for energy on the one hand, and our desire to maintain the environment."

"That is the exact same issue that I think Canadians are wrestling with," Jacobson said.


Obama used Tuesday's speech to present Congress with a choice: either agree to market-based solutions to climate change, or else the president will use his executive powers to achieve the same result.

U.S. Ambassador David Jacobson said in an interview Wednesday on CBC News Network's Power & Politics that the message to move more aggressively against climate change was aimed at Congress but "obviously there are things about our policies that have significant impact to Canada."

"I believe what he was trying to say was that we, in the U.S., have to do better with respect to carbon, we have to do better with respect to climate change," Jacobson told host Evan Solomon.

The U.S. envoy went on to say, "the president is very serious that we need to do a better job with respect to our carbon footprint — he believes that global warming is a real problem. There is no question, it's a priority."

It was the signal many environmentalists in Canada have been waiting for.

"I see opportunity," said Megan Leslie, the NDP's outspoken environment critic.

"Canadians have not been well-represented by our government on action on climate change. Fortunately for Canadians, though, the Harper Conservatives will have little choice but to follow suit or risk our trading relationship with our biggest partner."

U.S. action on climate change has been piecemeal over the past few years as Obama's initiatives met with stiff Republican resistance. Ottawa has vowed to move no faster than the U.S. for fear of risking Canada's competitive advantage.

Indeed, Conservative MPs have made a daily sport out of criticizing carbon taxes and cap-and-trade schemes.

But now that Obama has suggested he wants to crack down on emissions, either through a market-based approach or regulations, Canada is going to have to regroup, said Alex Wood, senior director at Sustainable Prosperity, an Ottawa-based think tank.

"The question is whether we will be able to keep up," he said. "We may have to pay a price for not having a serious policy around climate change."

Ottawa has opted to take a regulatory approach to emissions, imposing restrictions on industry sector by sector in a process that is taking many years to unfold and decades to implement. At last count, federal and provincial measures taken together still only get Canada half way to meeting its emissions reductions targets by 2020.

That leaves the as-yet-unregulated oil and gas sector to make up most of the difference, and negotiations with that industry and Alberta are proving difficult.

Still, the initial government reaction to Obama's climate change agenda was nonchalant.

Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver said the president's speech contained a little bit for everyone on all sides of the climate debate.

"And therefore I don't feel any different than I did before the speech," he said.

While Environment Minister Peter Kent has suggested in the past that Canada might consider a cap-and-trade system to control emissions if the United States moves in that direction, Oliver was dismissive of that idea Wednesday.

"This is quite speculative. It doesn't look like Congress would be supportive of that. They've rejected it historically, and we're not in that space," Oliver told reporters in Ottawa.

Still, there are signs federal ministers are feeling some pressure to up their game on the emissions front, especially with the controversial Keystone XL pipeline from the Alberta oilsands through the United States hanging in the balance. Oliver and Kent have both recently spoken about the need "to do more" on Canada's environmental credentials.

Last week, after meeting with new U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird told reporters that "when it comes to the environment , I think we have like-minded objectives."

"Prime Minister Harper and President Obama have both set a 17 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, we've worked very well together on reducing vehicle emissions for cars, for light trucks. Canada is aggressively moving forward on our plan to ban and phase out dirty coal fire electricity generation, and we'll continue to focus on that."

"I think we all share the need for a growing economy to create jobs, we share on the desire for energy security in North America, and we also share the objective of protecting our environment for future generations. Those will be areas where we continue to work together," Baird said.

Keystone XL pipeline project

Obama did not mention the pipeline in Tuesday's speech, but he faced calls from organized labour and the petroleum industry on Wednesday to approve the project immediately — even as protesters in the U.S. geared up for a demonstration against it this weekend.

In a preview of further protests planned for Sunday, prominent U.S. environmental leaders — including Michael Brune, the executive director of the Sierra Club — were arrested Wednesday after tying themselves to the White House gate.

Activist Bill McKibben, actress Daryl Hannah, civil rights leader Julian Bond and environmental lawyer Robert F. Kennedy Jr. were also arrested, along with several dozen other activists.

Washington-based stakeholders from both sides of the border increasingly suspect Obama is going to try to extract from the oil industry and Republicans some kind of quid pro quo — either a carbon-pricing scheme or limits on greenhouse emissions from existing power plants in exchange for approving Keystone.

"He's a deal-maker," said a source close to the Keystone discussions not authorized to speak to the media. "He wants to get something in return, whichever way he goes."

Such chatter underlines the fact that Canada and the U.S. are "on very different trajectories" since there is no indication that Environment Canada would entertain putting a market price on carbon, said Clare Demerse, director of federal policy for the Pembina Institute, an energy and environment think tank.

Obama's new-found determination on greenhouse gases will no doubt prompt him to assess the Keystone pipeline through an environmental lens, Demerse said. If that pipeline is filled with oilsands bitumen, the implications for emissions are major, both in Canada and the U.S.

Jacobson would not predict when Obama's Keystone decision will come, but told Solomon the president "is trying to figure out – whether it's Keystone, whether its climate change legislation – the appropriate balance between our need for energy on the one hand, and our desire to maintain the environment."

"That is the exact same issue that I think Canadians are wrestling with," Jacobson said.

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Subject: EU Consultations to Improve Air Quality
(Posted on Jan 3, 2013 at 12:23AM by Media Manager)
Tags:

 

European Commission holding a public consultation on the best way to improve air quality in Europe.


The European Commission is holding a public consultation on the best way to improve air quality in Europe. For the next twelve weeks, interested parties are invited to share their views on ways to ensure full implementation of the existing framework, to improve it, and to complement it with supporting actions. The results of the consultation will feed into a comprehensive review of Europe’s air policies due in 2013. The consultation is open until 4 March 2013.

Air pollution and the associated threats to the environment and human health continue to be a concern for many EU citizens. Despite progress in the past decades resulting from legislation to reduce harmful pollutants such as sulphur dioxide, lead, nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide and benzene, some pollutants are still causing problems. Summer smog, potentially harmful ground-level ozone and fine particles that pose significant health risks regularly exceed safe limits. Consequently, exposure to air pollution still causes over 400,000 premature deaths in the EU every year.

The consultation is divided into two parts – a short questionnaire for the general public, and a more extensive set of questions for experts and practitioners from national administrations, regional and local authorities, researchers, businesses, stakeholders, health, environmental and other groups with experience in implementing EU air quality legislation.

This web-based consultation is part of a broader process designed to involve civil society in the upcoming air policy review. It is the final formal step of the consultation process started by the Commission in January 2011 , and which has involved regular meetings with Member States and other stakeholders regularly and a first public consultation on the effectiveness of EU air quality policy and priorities for the future.

The Commission will also shortly issue the results of a Eurobarometer survey on air quality. Some 25 000 European citizens in 27 Member States have been interviewed to give their views on air quality issues.

There are separate questionnaires for experts and the general public. Explanatory notes also accompany the public consultation. If you would like more information on this or you would like to keep on top of global climate change or emissions legislation please contact us.

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