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Manitoba to adopt California like vehicle emission limits

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Manitoba will soon set down new vehicle emission standards similar to those in California, Premier Gary Doer said Thursday.

The limits, which Doer talked about in last spring's election campaign, will be part of his NDP government's push to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to meet Kyoto targets.

``We are looking at it as part of Kyoto. It represents 33 per cent of our challenge,'' Doer said in a year-end interview with The Canadian Press.

``We're just looking at the how-to in our legislation.''

Quebec became the first Canadian province to commit to California-style emission standards earlier this month. Under the Quebec plan, automakers would have to ensure the average level of emissions for their 2010 to 2016 vehicle fleets does not exceed government standards.

Several American states have already adopted California-style limits and automakers are already producing more energy-efficient vehicles, Doer said, but a national action plan in Canada would be the best way to ensure emissions are cut.

``It would be easier for Quebec and Manitoba to have a national standard on California tailpipe emissions because of the sale of old cars from one province to another,'' he said.

The federal government has promised to impose stringent rules on fuel efficiency for cars and light trucks starting with the 2011 model year, but the details won't be ready until 2010.

Manitoba's plan is expected to include incentives for owners of older vehicles, although the details have yet to be worked out.

The government has not yet decided whether the vehicle emission standards will be included in legislation promised for this spring that will bind the province to meeting its Kyoto targets. The aim is to cut the province's total greenhouse gas emissions of 20 megatonnes a year by roughly 11 per cent. Vehicle emissions represent about one-third of the province's total output.

The vehicle emission limits are part of Doer's overall plan for a greener province. He is planning to phase out the province's last coal-fired electrical generating station, in Brandon, in the near future.

He is also eyeing the development of new hydro dams in the north which could boost energy exports. He has long talked about having hydro power do for Manitoba what oil and gas have done for Alberta.

Doer, who with eight years under his belt is Canada's longest-serving current premier, has made it clear he wants to make Manitoba more environmentally friendly before he leaves office. And his departure does not appear to be any time in the near future.

``I've asked for a mandate and I've got a mandate ... and I'm going to serve the mandate,'' said Doer, who won his third straight majority last May.

Doer will turn 60 in March, but says he's not thinking about retirement.

``It's way too premature to ask the question,'' he said.

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Manitoba to adopt California like vehicle emission limits
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