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Update for: December, 2001






Government of Alberta Completes its 2001-2005 VCR Action Plan:

The new Government of Alberta VCR Action Plan has established a target to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from government operations by 26% below 1990 levels. The previous target, which was exceeded by 6%, was 14.1% below 1990 levels.

GHG emissions from government operations are mainly CO2. The new Action Plan focuses on three major CO2 sources:

  1. Energy used in buildings for lighting and heating purposes.
  2. Operation of vehicles in the government?s transportation fleet.
  3. Solid waste.

The objective of the Action Plan is not only to reduce GHG emissions from government operations, but also to demonstrate the advantages of a voluntary approach, and the financial savings that can be accrued from investing in energy conservation projects.

Climate Change Central Adds Policy Discussion Role to its Responsibilities:

Climate Change Central (CCC) will now be focussing on discussions of policy options, in addition to its original role of developing strategic projects and partnerships on climate change action. CCC will become a forum for stakeholders (industry, NGOs and government) to discuss broad policy positions and present them to the provincial government. It is anticipated that this unique approach will bring together expertise from various stakeholders and will assist in the Alberta Government response to climate change.



Federal Government Announces Climate Change Initiatives:

In November, the federal government announced 28 specific initiatives, worth $425.15 million, which will reduce Canada?s GHG emissions by more than 23.7 Mt by 2010. The newly announced transportation initiatives include: the Future Fuels Program, intended to increase the supply and use of ethanol in Canada; and the Freight Efficiency & Technology Initiative, which will assist participation by the freight sector in voluntary climate change initiatives.

For more information and the complete list of transportation initiatives and others, please refer to: http://climatechange.gc.ca/



?Rule Book? for Kyoto Protocol Finalized:

The unknown elements of the ?rule book? for the Kyoto Protocol were finalized at CoP-7 in Marrakech, Morocco. Some of the major decisions made at CoP-7 were:

  • Rules for mechanisms such as emissions trading, Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), and Joint Implementation, were finalized. The CDM and Joint Implementation mechanisms deal with technology and program transfer to developing and developed countries (Eastern Europe and Russia), respectively.

  • Emissions credits obtained under the above identified three mechanisms can be transferred as equal units. This means that, for example, a credit obtained from transferring technology to China (under the CDM) can be used in emission trading.

  • Sinks are identified as a separate credit unit that cannot be transferred and can only be used in the first commitment period.

  • A review of emission reduction commitments is scheduled for CoP-9 (2003). This discussion could frame the future of developing country efforts.

  • Cleaner Energy Exports is officially on the agenda for CoP-8, and a formal workshop will be held in Canada by July 2002.

  • Joint Development projects will not be possible in or with the United States. The United States has indicated that it will not ratify the Kyoto Protocol.

The CoP-7 agreement is a signal that the climate change issue is moving away from the international arena to the domestic arena, as nations start to ratify the Protocol and implement domestic action plans. The Canadian government has indicated a desire to be in a position to ratify the Kyoto Protocol before the World Summit on Sustainable Development in September 2002.



European Union (EU) Proposal may Boost Alternative Fuels Use:

The European Commission is proposing regulations and tax incentives to encourage alternative fuels, particularly biofuels (biodiesel and ethanol) from renewable agricultural sources. The proposal would help the EU meet Kyoto Protocol commitments to reduce GHG emissions by 8% by 2010, and reduce its dependence on foreign oil and financially assist farmers. If approved, the proposals would require biofuels to make up 5.75% of all fuel sales by 2010.

Hybrid Electric Buses Score High Marks on Emissions:

Independent tests, conducted by Environment Canada, on transit buses, manufactured by Orion Industries of Mississauga, indicated that diesel-electric hybrid propulsion is cleaner than modern diesel power and similar in emission levels to vehicles powered by compressed natural gas (CNG). The hybrid bus scored significantly better in most emissions categories, including nitrogen oxides, particulate matter, carbon monoxide and greenhouse gases, as well as, over-all fuel efficiency.

US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) Finds Air Quality is Improving:

The USEPA has found that air quality is improving steadily, but is still a significant problem. Between 1991 and 2000 substantial reductions in lead (50%), carbon monoxide (41%), sulfur dioxide (37%) and nitrogen dioxide (11%) had been achieved, despite major increases in vehicle numbers and travel mileage. The improvement is largely attributable to advances in vehicle catalytic converter technology. The US EPA?s findings underscore the importance of retention and maintenance of catalytic converters.


Prepared by Alberta Transportation and Alberta Environment          

This information is available on the Alberta Transportation web-site

Peter Dzikowski
Senior Policy Advisor, Environmental Issues