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Update for: March, 2002






Government of Alberta Announces Official Position on Kyoto Accord:

A study conducted by the Government of Alberta indicates that ratification of the Kyoto Protocol could cost Canadians between $23-$40 billion a year. The study also shows that the risks identified in the federal government?s National Climate Change Process analysis could be even broader without appropriate policies. For instance, the national analysis did not account for recently announced energy projects in Alberta or the withdrawal of the U.S. from the Protocol. Potential costs of ratification of the Kyoto Protocol to Alberta are estimated to be between $2.9-$5.5 billion per annum, or 2-3% of the provincial economy.

The Government of Alberta believes that with the importance of trade and investment between Canada, the U.S. and Mexico, actions or programs undertaken by Canada to address climate change must be developed in a North American context. The Alberta position emphasizes the need for Canadian business and industry to be on a level playing field with economies that are closely linked to our own.

Alberta?s Environment Minister Lorne Taylor reiterated Alberta?s recognition and belief in the importance of taking action to address climate change, however, he indicated that the Government of Alberta has "concerns about signing any kind of agreement without a full understanding of what it will mean to all parts of Canada and to all Canadians."

AMA & Alberta Transportation Fuel Efficient Driving Course:

The Alberta Motor Association (AMA), with the support of Alberta Transportation, has developed a Fuel Efficient Driving Course. The course will be piloted by 30 Alberta Transportation staff in late February to early March. Empirical research conducted by Natural Resources Canada?s SmartDriver program has found that through behavior change and education, most drivers can achieve a 10-20% reduction in fuel consumption. If the course proves to be successful, the AMA hopes to make the program available to all Alberta drivers and businesses.


Freight Sustainability Demonstration Program:

Transport Canada is working with the freight industry to reduce its GHG emissions. The Freight Sustainability Demonstration Program supports the demonstration and evaluation of innovative measures to reduce emissions in a practical and cost-effective manner. Private enterprises and not for profit organizations are eligible to apply for funding. Between 2002 and 2006, about $4.5 million will be available to encourage effective action by road, rail, marine and air freight carriers in Canada.

For more information please refer to:

Canadian Transportation Fuel Cell Alliance (CTFCA):

Natural Resources Canada is investing $23 million in the CTFCA program to demonstrate and evaluate different fuelling options for fuel cell vehicles. It will also analyze the ways fuel may be delivered to fuel cell powered vehicles, establish safety standards for fuelling stations, and develop training and certification programs for people who install and maintain those stations. 

For more information please refer to:



U.S. President Bush Unveils Alternative to Kyoto Protocol:

The U.S. has proposed an alternative plan to reduce GHG emissions. The plan relies upon voluntary reductions by businesses through offering a variety of financial and tax incentives. The Bush Administration believes the plan has the capability of achieving about a 4.5% reduction in GHG emissions over 10 years, which Administration officials claim is the equivalent of removing 70 million cars from U.S. roads.

The President?s plan links GHG emissions to economic output, calling for an 18% reduction in greenhouse gas intensity over 10 years. Greenhouse gas intensity is the ratio of GHG emissions to economic output. The plan would lower the rate of emissions from an estimated 183 metric tonnes per million dollars GDP in 2002, to 151 metric tonnes per million GDP in 2012. The Bush Administration will be proposing about $4.5 billion be allocated to climate change programs in next year?s U.S. federal budget.

U.S. Senate Finance Committee Proposes Biodiesel Tax Provision:

The U.S. Senate Finance Committee approved a tax incentive for biodiesel as part of a package of tax provisions promoting American energy security. Biodiesel is a fuel derived from oilseed crops or waste animal fats, which can be used by diesel engines without modification. Biodiesel is generally combined with conventional diesel in a 20% blend, referred to as B20 fuel. The tax provision will likely be included in a comprehensive energy package the Senate is expected to consider next month. The proposed legislation would provide a one-cent reduction in the excise tax for every 1% of biodiesel that is blended into standard diesel fuel ? up to 20% total content. More than 100 major U.S. vehicle fleets already use biodiesel.

U.S. Government & Auto Makers Agree to Jointly Pursue Development of Fuel Cell Vehicles:

GM, Ford, DaimlerChrysler and the U.S. government agreed to jointly develop hydrogen based fuel cells to make cars more efficient and reduce reliance on foreign oil. The program, called FreedomCAR, signals the U.S. government?s intention to devote research and development money and future policy toward hydrogen as an eventual replacement for gasoline. The focus of the effort will be to accelerate the development of hydrogen fuel cell powered vehicles by offering technology development incentives to universities and laboratories. The FreedomCAR Program replaces an earlier effort called Partnership for a New Generation Vehicle, whose goal was to develop a car that attains 80 miles per gallon of fuel.



GM Unveils "AUTOnomy" Hydrogen Powered Prototype Vehicle:

GM has unveiled a prototype vehicle that is powered by a hydrogen fuel cell and features "drive by wire" technology. The AUTOnomy vehicle is the first designed from the ground up around a fuel cell propulsion system. The "drive by wire" concept would replace most mechanical and hydraulic systems, such as steering and braking, with electronic wires.

Natural Gas Making In-roads in U.S. Transit Fleets:

The American Public Transit Association reports that natural gas is mounting a challenge to diesel in the transit vehicle sector. Of the roughly 55,190 transit buses in the U.S. in 2001, about 5,000 (9%) are fully powered or in part powered by natural gas. Los Angeles and New York City transit agencies are leading North America in acquiring natural gas transit buses.


Prepared by Alberta Transportation and Alberta Environment          

This information is available on the Alberta Transportation web-site

Peter Dzikowski
Senior Policy Advisor, Environmental Issues