Quebec follows Canada into electric vehicle pledge

Quebec Environment Minister Benoit Charette seen here as an MNA on June 4, 2015 at the legislature in Quebec City. Photo by The Canadian Press / Jacques Boissinot

Quebec Environment Minister Benoit Charette announced the province was joining the Drive to Zero Pledge, at an event in New York on Sept. 24. The pledge commits signatories in part to make zero-emission technology commercially viable for the truck and bus industry over the next five years.

The commitment, made on the second day of the United Nations Climate Week, aligns Quebec with the federal Canadian government. Ottawa had already announced it was singing the pledge this year. It said it would ensure all new vehicle sales in Canada would be electric by 2040.

Quebec’s transportation sector is the main source of the province’s carbon pollution, accounting for 43 per cent, while across Canada heavy-duty gasoline vehicles produce nearly 30 per cent of total transportation-related pollution.

Canada was the first country to sign on to the pledge that dozens of other organizations, companies (including four in Quebec) and governments, including the province of British Columbia and the City of Vancouver, have also signed.

The Eastern Canada province has already created a system of rebates on electric vehicle purchases, financial assistance for installing charging stations and a network of stations across the province.

“The objectives of the Drive to Zero challenge are in direct (alignment) with our ambition, and that is why we are very happy to join” – @CharetteB

On Sunday, Charette also announced the province would be contributing $43 million to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Adaptation Fund, to help climate resilience and adaptation efforts around the world.

Electric cars at ‘centre’ of Quebec plan

In an interview at UN headquarters, Charette said Drive to Zero’s objective, electrification of transportation, is at the “centre” of Quebec’s own plan….

Charette said other aspects of the provincial plan, expected in full next year, will include sharing Quebec’s vast reserves of hydro electricity with Canadian provinces and U.S. states. MORE

High gas prices? There’s a policy for that, and it helps combat climate change

The average car built to comply with 2025 standards, for instance, will save about $383 per year on fuel

Image result for national observer: High gas prices? There’s a policy for that, and it helps combat climate change

A recent report released by federal scientists showed that Canada is getting hit harder than the rest of the world by climate change, and the effects are being felt across the country. The historic flood events impacting communities in New Brunswick, Manitoba, Quebec, and Ontario this week are unfortunate examples. The results of our high-emitting behaviours are getting real.

Little surprise, then, that Canadians want to see action on climate change. And accounting for about 25 per cent of Canada’s total emissions, the transportation sector is a big part of the problem. If Canada were to follow Trump and weaken its vehicle efficiency standards, we’ll lose important ground when it comes to meeting our 2030 pollution reduction targets and international commitments under the Paris Agreement.

These standards don’t just cut pollution, they also keep money in the pockets of Canadians by making cars less expensive to fill up. While more fuel-efficient vehicles have a slightly higher sticker price, this can be recouped in a few years, beyond which drivers come out ahead. The International Council on Clean Transportation predicts that the average car built to comply with 2025 standards, for instance, 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. Trump’s rollback would lead to higher fuel bills with higher polluting, less efficient vehicles.

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—as Trump is doing—freeze the standards in 2020, just 14 per cent favoured a freeze (compared to 27 per cent who said strengthen, and 36 per cent who said maintain).

Canadians drive cleaner cars and pay less on gas today because these standards exist, and they’ll pay less tomorrow if we keep them in place. This one’s a no-brainer. SOURCE