7. All states shall swiftly adopt maximally stringent efficiency standards for cars, trucks, ships, and aircraft.

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Rapporteur: Liz Couture

Efficiency standards refer to the fuel efficiency standards as legislated by countries that produce fossil fuel burning vehicles. Of course the most stringent policy possible is 100% efficiency, or vehicles that emit zero emissions. This is not an easy policy to enact in law, as it takes time for transition. The longer term ideal goal, then, is to achieve zero emission vehicles over the next three decades, by 2050 by all the countries of the world.

It is easier and cheaper to redesign or convert some vehicles (and their associated infrastructure) than others, and so the maximum stringency level of efficiency possible will vary between manufacturing of cars, buses, trains, ships, and airplanes.

The urgency with which to get to maximum standards, indeed zero emissions, cannot be overstated.

For purposes of discussion, assume that the following current transportation vehicles for living, working, and playing are the most threatening to planetary health, not only because of the excess greenhouse gas emissions due to widespread use, but also because of increased anticipated demand:

  • Commute – car, train, mass transit bus, small plane
  • Business – car, train, truck, airplane, commercial cargo ships
  • Pleasure – car, train, mobile home, airplane, passenger cruise ship

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Footnotes for this article can be seen at the Footnotes 2 page on this website (link will open in a new page).

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Adam Wynne

An interesting article about the prevalence of heavy fuel usage in the Arctic. Heavy fuel is a dirty fuel that causes lots of pollution. Heavy fuel poses a risk regardless of whether it is burned for energy or being transported. This is particularly challenging and concerning within the context of sensitive Arctic ecosystem and environments. Additionally colder temperatures in the environment and water cause fuel to break down slower and results in longer impacts on ecosystems. There are ongoing calls – by countries such as Canada and the Scandinavian nations – to prohibit the use of heavy fuel as a… Read more »

Adam Wynne

An interesting article regarding the role of ship emissions and ship-related pollution in public health. European health agencies spend approximately €58 billion ($83 billion CAD) each year on serious diseases connected to ship emissions and ship-related pollution. These are mostly heart and lung diseases. Furthermore, this annual €58 billion ($83 billion CAD) expense does not include environmental damage. Additionally of note: “the NGO Transport & Environment said, “Marine fuel is 2,700 times dirtier than road diesel and €35 billion of fuel tax is paid yearly in Europe for road transport, while shipping uses tax-free fuel.” Given that shipping accounts for… Read more »

Adam Wynne

An interesting article about the role of the shipping industry. Title: UN Will Force Shipping to Clean Up its Act Author: Laramée de Tannenberg, Valéry Publication: Euractiv Date: 26 October 2016 Link: https://www.euractiv.com/section/transport/news/un-will-force-shipping-to-clean-up-its-act/ Notes: See additionally Samuel White’s EURACTIV article on premature deaths from pollution from ships. Article Excerpt: The UN’s International Maritime Organisation (IMO) is pondering measures to cut shipping pollution and bring emissions into line with the Paris Agreement. EURACTIV’s partner Journal de l’Environnement reports. Like commercial aviation, marine transport slipped through the cracks in the Paris Agreement. Responsible for more than 2% of global greenhouse gas emissions,… Read more »

Adam Wynne

CBC published this interesting article yesterday (15 February 2020) of the Canadian impacts of Russia’s $300 billion investment in the Arctic – specifically within the realm of gas and oil. These investments would encourage development of and increased traffic in Northern sea routes. There is hope that this could assist with economic bolstering and potential development of remote Northern communities along the Northern Sea Route. What impacts these activities will have on locals – including Indigenous (Chukchi, Nenets, etc.) peoples – has yet to be fully determined. However, there is international concern that gas and oil drilling in this ecologically… Read more »

Adam Wynne

Did you know that beet juice brine can be used to melt ice on roads in an ecologically friendly manner?

Calgary has undertaken this initiative to use a more ecologically friendly way (than salt) to melt ice on winter roads. Other municipalities are exploring similar options too.

The CBC explored this subject in a Calgary-focused article.

Title: Beet brine again used to keep Calgary streets clear of snow and ice
Author: Dave Dormer
News Agency: CBC News
Date: 17 November 2018
Link: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/calgary-beet-brine-snow-ice-control-1.4909615

Adam Wynne

Quite an interesting initiative from Sweden. “Sweden launches inquiry on how to ban sales of new gasoline and diesel cars and phase-out fossil fuels” – Green Car Congress [25 December 2019] “The Government of Sweden has launched a study to offer proposals on how to implement a ban on sales of new gasoline and diesel cars, and the timeline for the phase-out of fossil fuels. The final report is to be presented by 1 February 2021. Sven Hunhammar will chair the inquiry. Hunhammar holds a Master’s degree in engineering and a doctorate in natural resource management. He is Director of… Read more »

Frank Sterle Jr.

It seems to me that Alberta Premier Jason Kenney and those of like-mind have such a strong sense of free-flow dilbit-oil revenue entitlement that they cannot see or really care about its serious environmental consequences. They, including PM Justin Trudeau, appear recklessly blind to the significantly increased risk caused by the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project to B.C.’s far-more valuable (at least to us) tourism, food and sports fishing industries—not to mention pristine natural environments and ecosystems themselves—in the case of a major oil spill, which many academics believe is inevitable. How much more does Kenney actually believe Trudeau’s Liberal… Read more »

Will Knudsen

Electric cars will become cheaper than combustion-engine cars by about 2024. This is enabled largely by the declining costs of the batteries for EVs. Until recently, a mid-size electric car’s battery accounted for over half of the vehicle’s total cost. By 2025 it will account for only 1/4 of the cost.

Will Knudsen

Airlines consume about 87 billion gallons of fuel per year. Very little of it has been sustainable, and price is one of the reasons. Even if it could be produced in sufficient quantity, biofuels cost now about $16 a gallon, as compared to $2.50 for conventional fuel. But considerable work is being done to develop sustainable fuel for planes and it may be achieved within a few years.

Richard Paul

We need to continue developing alternative sources of energy if we are to be economically strong…even Saudi Arabia knows that…. https://electrek.co/2019/10/14/green-energy-more-electricity-than-fossil-fuels-first-time-uk/?fbclid=IwAR1srq7QU-ggiUMcmpt11b1abZ3dFz0GlT-lySpls8UcopNTKpHgpiskrNM

Adam Wynne

I have seen on social media over the past few days that Canadian politicians (and the media) are travelling around the country for the upcoming federal election. Recent posts indicate a campaign outreach to Iqaluit, Nunavut. I wonder – what are the climate change and emissions impact from all the private chartered transportation for media and politicians on cross country campaigns? Is there a way to optimize this to limit impacts on the climate and environment? This applies to both Canadian and international contexts.

Frank Sterle Jr.

Green party leader Elizabeth May recently said that sometimes she will “feel like, ‘When did the media decide they want to beat up on us [Greens]?’” Could it have something to do with her party’s platform promise, if elected, to kill the Trans Mountain dilbit pipeline expansion project? … According to then-publisher of Postmedia’s National Post, Douglas Kelly: “From its inception, the National Post has been one of the country’s leading voices on the importance of energy to Canada’s business competitiveness internationally and our economic well-being in general. We will work with CAPP [Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers] to amplify… Read more »

Adam Wynne

Electric cars may have potential to mitigate environmental impacts – but where is the infrastructure re: charging stations, etc.? In Toronto – a homeowner owned an electric car and tried to charge the battery while it was parked on the street in front of their home. Municipal bylaw indicated this is not allowed – due to the hazard of someone tripping over the cord running over the sidewalk – city officials indicated this would additionally be a violation of multiple building and electrical codes. There was discussion to bury the cable under the sidewalk – which was ultimately not allowed… Read more »

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Fuel Cell Trucks: Solution to Heavy Duty Transport Emissions?
Hydrogen Fuel Cell Trucks
May. 17, 2018
Article by Nicolas Pocard
How many trucks do you see on the road on any given day? Likely, quite a few. Heavy duty transport is a crucial element in moving the products we all rely on.

And this transport volume is showing no signs of slowing down. As the global economies further entwine, we are increasingly dependent on the movement of goods via trucks. ….. .

Ruth Needham

There is a term — the “California effect” — that describes the greater power of California than that of Trump. He is trying to relax the standards of efficiency for cars, but California is holding the line on their tough standards. And because they account for so many car owners, the car companies stick to the California standards instead of Trump’s preferred ones. But I read that Trump is trying to force them to go along with the federal law. Where does that fight stand at the moment? I haven’t seen any reference to it in the paper lately.

Metta Spencer

This is an electric vehicle, but some say that we’ll need cars for a while yet that fill up at the gas pump — but what they put into the tank may not be gasoline but alcohol made from carbon dioxide, drawn from the atmosphere or from sea water.

Metta Spencer

Here’s another proposal that I cannot appraise. It sounds awfully challenging — we’d need to create several million islands covered with solar panels to do it. How feasible is that, compared to other means of obtaining sustainable fuel? https://www.intelligentliving.co/floating-solar-islands/