Quebec adopts California car emissions standards
Rules will gradually lower greenhouse gas emission ceiling for cars
Quebec is adopting California's stringent auto-emissions standards next month, in a move to tackle the province's polluting transport sector.
When the new emissions standards take effect Jan. 14, Quebec will become the first Canadian province to follow California's lead in reducing greenhouse gases with cleaner light vehicles.
The standards will impose increasingly strict limits on maximum greenhouse gas emissions for light vehicles manufactured between 2010 and 2016, and sold in Quebec.
By 2016, provincial standards will require light vehicles to produce no more than 127 grams of greenhouse gas per kilometre.
California's emissions program is "really interesting because it is accompanied by a system of penalties, but especially, a system of rewards" for cleaner cars, Beauchamp said in French at a news conference in Montreal on Tuesday.
The emission caps apply to a manufacturer's total vehicle fleet, which means companies that manage to come under the limit can either bank their credits, or sell them to others, Beauchamp explained.
When the West Coast state first introduced its standards in 2004, it was beset by judicial challenges from the auto industry, a reaction Quebec noted with interest, the environment minister said.
But with the advent of Barack Obama as president, and a slow spread of California's standards to other states, Quebec is ready to take the plunge for stricter standards "with much pride," Beauchamp said.
The minister noted that several states neighbouring Quebec are among those that have followed California's lead, including Vermont, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Connecticut.
The Obama administration has also signalled its intent to adopt equivalent standards for all of the United States by 2012.
In Quebec, the transport sector generates about 40 per cent of the province's greenhouse gases, half of which is caused by light vehicles.