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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Fuel Oil Pollution in the Arctic!

Too much heavy fuel is used the Arctic. Heavy fuel is a dirty fuel that causes lots of pollution.It poses a risk regardless of whether it is burned for energy or being transported. Cold temperatures in the environment and water cause the fuel to break down slower and prolongs the impact on ecosystems. There are ongoing calls – by countries such as Canada and the Scandinavian nations – to prohibit the use of heavy fuel as a fuel source in the Arctic. However, these proposals will not prevent heavy fuel from being shipped as cargo through the Arctic.

BY Niels Bjorn Mortensen
“Whether carried or burned, heavy fuel oil is a particular threat in Arctic waters

In March 2017, Arctic sea ice hit a new record — the lowest amount of winter ice since satellite records began 38 years ago.

As Arctic waters open up, most likely due to human use of fossil fuels, vessels powered by heavy fuel oil are likely to divert to Arctic waters in search of shorter journey times. This will mean more burning of marine fuels and black carbon emissions, accelerating further melting. More open water means further absorption of the sun’s warmth and heating of the Arctic Ocean — a vicious cycle.

As a former navigator I have sailed on ships in both the Arctic and the Antarctic. In 1979 I was second officer on the first ship to east Greenland that season and we arrived at Angmagssalik around July 1 after spending a day navigating very heavy multi-year ice. Later that year, I was in the Thule (Qaanaaq) district in northwest Greenland, which opened up for ship traffic only in early August.

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Ship pollution is bad for public health

By Samuel White

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 over one fifth of global fuel consumption, the fact that its emissions are not more strictly regulated is cause for concern.”

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UN Will Force Shipping to Clean Up its Act

By Laramée de Tannenberg
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, commercial shipping is also a major source of local air pollution.

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This explains why Russia may be slow to develop electric cars (Arctic oil is profitable)

Russia is investing $300 billion 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.

There is international concern that gas and oil drilling in this ecologically sensitive region could result in long-term, environmental damage – such as through leaks or spills.

The Soviet Union formerly used the Barents Sea, Kara Sea, and areas around Novaya Zemlya as a nuclear waste dump. These areas abut and/or intersect the Northern Sea Route. I am hoping that some of these $300 billion in investments could go towards cleaning up these sites. Former President Boris Yeltsin’s science advisor first reported on the state of the Kara Sea nuclear waste dump in 1993 – though according to recent media articles – little has been done in subsequent decades to clean-up and contain the nuclear waste, move it to a more appropriate and secure location, and remediate the contaminated environments. Interestingly, several gas and oil companies proposed drilling the Kara Sea due to its large gas and oil reserves – but shifted plans about 5 years ago.

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Say Goodbye to Salt, Say Hello to Beet Juice Brine

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.

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I think the real question here is: DOES IT SMELL?

Sweden wants to ban sale of gas and diesel cars?

“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.

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Dilbit, Dilbat

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.

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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.

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.

The Renewables Pull Ahead!

In 2019, for the first time, more electric energy was produced in UK by green sources than by fossil fuels!
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Greens don’t love pipelines

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? …

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Tripping over the Cord

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.

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How Good are Hydrogen Trucks?

Hydrogen Fuel Cell Trucks
Article by Nicolas Pocard | May. 17, 2018

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. ….. .

The California Effect

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.