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Canada to act on climate change

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Hydrocarbon Engineering,

The announcement, from Minister Catherine McKenna, that Canada will adopt a national clean fuels standard is an important step for climate action and the growth of a cleantech economy and green jobs. This federal leadership builds on the early actions of British Columbia, Oregon and California, and will greatly improve availability of low carbon fuel choices and competition at the pump.

A national clean fuels standard will require fuel suppliers to progressively reduce the carbon pollution in their fuels, with annual reduction requirements within a specified overall timeframe. Environment and Climate Change Canada will consult with stakeholders to establish the reduction levels and timeframes.

‘Canada has within its borders a complete set of time-tested approaches for reducing the carbon pollution in fuels”, stated Ian Thomson, President of Advanced Biofuels Canada. ”From this experience of over a decade, the Government of Canada has zeroed in on a proven, flexible regulatory tool. We believe they’ve made a smart choice, and set a goal of 30 million t reduction by 2030 – that will spur all parties to action.”

The decision to adopt the first national clean fuels standard in the world is consistent with the guidance offered recently by Canadian and US non-governmental and industry organizations. British Columbia has already demonstrated that leadership in clean and renewable fuels can go hand in hand with economic growth. And a clean fuels standard complements the recent announcement by the US EPA that it is strengthening the US renewable fuel standard.

Fuel suppliers have an array of options for meeting the clean fuel standard. They can employ lower carbon fuels blended into, or replacing, gasoline and diesel, or improve the emissions associated with upstream oil and gas extraction and refining. The new standard will also promote fuel switching to electric mobility and hydrogen fuel cells. This flexible, market-based approach will ensure a smoother transition from the starting point of today’s existing vehicles and fuels infrastructure.

"Most Canadians do not know that we already produce, at commercial scale, the low carbon fuels and transportation technologies that are needed to take us well towards our climate goals. The technologies are proven, and many petroleum companies are making investments in them around the globe. In Canada, there is much more that we can do to participate in the global clean fuels economy. A Canadian standard will attract investment to scale up clean fuels growth and help make these fuels more available and drive down costs.”

A clean fuels standard will achieve carbon reductions well beyond what can be achieved from a price on carbon alone. Unlike a price on carbon, which relies on making fuels more expensive to discourage their use, a clean fuel standard will stimulate direct investments in a variety of lower carbon fuel options. A clean fuels standard is particularly effective because all compliance costs are directed back into lower carbon solutions.

Clean fuels have other benefits. In polluted urban airsheds, they lead to better air quality by reducing emissions of the toxins found in gasoline and diesel. For consumers, new fuels in the market creates more choice and increases competition, leading to more innovation in the supply of fuels and in transportation options. Canada’s announcement is aligned with the global transition towards a low carbon economy. A stringent clean fuels standard will provide a predictable, long term innovation signal for both clean fuels providers and fuel suppliers to reduce emissions. Advanced Biofuels Canada is committed to supporting its government as it develops an effective regulation that achieves targeted greenhouse gas emissions reductions and captures the benefits of new cleantech growth.

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