The Regulation respecting greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicles, the standards of which are equivalent to those adopted in California, come into effect in mid-January. Québec thereby becomes the first Canadian province to apply North America’s strictest standards.
The Québec government’s approach is in keeping with a North American movement that has seen some 15 American states, mostly Québec’s northeast neighbours, follow California’s lead. The U.S. federal government has also announced its intention to adopt California-equivalent standards in 2012.
When it first published its draft regulation, the Québec government in fact stressed the importance of implementing standards concomitantly with those of these leading edge states. “We were committed to apply our regulation as soon as the United States Environmental Protection Agency authorized California to adopt and implement greenhouse gas emission standards that exceeded federal motor vehicle requirements. Now that this has happened, we will immediately move forward”, declared Minister of Sustainable Development, the Environment and Parks Line Beauchamp.
Note that, in Québec in 2006, the transportation sector was the largest producer of Québec’s greenhouse emissions, accounting for 40% of the total. Light vehicles were responsible for roughly half of these emissions. In the view of Minister Beauchamp, achieving the objectives of the government’s plan to fight climate change inexorably includes sustained action in the road transportation sector, where emissions have been constantly on the rise. The coming into effect of this regulation thus constitutes an important step towards realizing the goals of the 2006-2012 Climate Change Action Plan and is a determining factor in reaching Québec’s 2020 greenhouse gas emission reduction target, which is -20% compared with 1990 emissions.
Furthermore, in the Québec government’s view, achievement of that target is indissociable from the establishment of a greenhouse gas cap-and-trade system, which Québec is currently developing with its partners in the Western Climate Initiative, including California.
2006-2012 Climate Change Action Plan – Ministère du Développement durable, de l’Environnement et des Parcs