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Canada proposes new vehicle emissions regulations

[JURIST] Canadian Minister of the Environment Jim Prentice [official profile] on Thursday proposed [press release] a new set of regulations [text, PDF; backgrounder] aimed to reduce greenhouse gases (GHG) emitted from vehicles. The new standards will apply to cars and light truck models starting in 2011. The standards will differ based on the footprints of cars (measured in square meters) and how many vehicles were sold in the previous year. According to the Canadian government:

These new regulations would deliver certainty to the automotive industry and will require significant technological improvements to vehicles to reduce GHG emissions. As a result of the proposed regulations, it is projected that the average GHG emission performance of new vehicles of the 2016 model year will be about 25% lower than the vehicles that were sold in Canada in 2008. These improvements are expected to result in a cumulative reduction of 92 Mt CO2e in GHG emissions over the lifetime of the 2011-2016 model year vehicles sold in Canada.

The Environment Canada [official website] will make emissions credits available for the auto industry in order to help meet the overall environmental goals of the country while still providing the industry with flexibility.

The new standards are designed to coincide with the US standards established under the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) [text, PDF] regulations, also announced [JURIST report] Thursday. In December, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) [official website] announced a finding that greenhouse gases threaten [JURIST report] public health and the environment. Those findings enabled the EPA to take steps to curb greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act [text, PDF], which the Supreme Court ruled in 2007 gives the EPA authority [JURIST report] to regulate the emission of greenhouse gases by automobiles. In June, the EPA granted permission to California to enforce its own greenhouse gas emissions standards [JURIST report]. California had been seeking permission [EPA materials] from the EPA to set its own vehicle emission and greenhouse gas standards since 2005, but was initially denied [letter, PDF]. The EPA reconsidered [JURIST report] California's request last year after being directed [memorandum; JURIST report] by the Obama administration to do so.

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