(Toronto, ON and Washington, DC) British Columbia’s new Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) is too weak to effectively fight global warming, according to an analysis released today by Environmental Defence Canada and Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). The groups compared BC’s standard to the pioneering California one, and found BC’s effort to be significantly flawed. Copies of the analysis are being sent to decision-makers across North America, several of whom are also in the process of developing an LCFS.
“BC’s fuel standard is a hundred pound weakling when compared to the muscular version pioneered by Governor Schwarzenegger in California,” said Gillian McEachern, Program Manager with Environmental Defence Canada. “BC’s version gives fuel suppliers a free pass on using higher carbon tar sands oil and doesn’t properly measure the effects of biofuels.”
BC’s standard continues to garner praise from the Canadian petroleum industry at a time when there are lobbying battles around North America and in Europe over laws to reduce carbon content in fuels. This affects tar sands producers since oil from that source has a 15-40 per cent higher carbon content from source to burning than regular oil.
“The tar sands industry and the Canadian government have been lobbying hard in California, Europe and elsewhere to protect tar sands oil from being labelled for what it is – dirty oil,” said Dr. Simon Mui, Clean Vehicles and Fuels Scientist with NRDC. “Unless it is fixed, the BC standard will likely do more harm than good since the oil industry will use it to argue for a free pass everywhere.”
According to the analysis, key differences between the BC and California standards include:
·         California requires fuel suppliers to account for high carbon fuels they sell, like tar sands, whereas BC does not.
·         California distinguishes between good and bad biofuels by accounting for the carbon pollution impacts of land use change that results from growing biofuel crops, whereas BC doesn’t.
·         California has established a robust system for fuel suppliers to trade credits, creating a strong market incentive for low carbon fuels. BC allows trading in theory but has not set up a system yet.
California and British Columbia are the first jurisdictions in North American to adopt low carbon fuel standards. Eleven northeastern states, Ontario and the European Union are also considering developing them.
The comparison between BC and California is available to download for free on the Environmental Defence Canada web site at www.environmentaldefence.ca.
About Environmental Defence (www.environmentaldefence.ca): Environmental Defence protects the environment and human health. We research solutions. We educate. We go to court when we have to. All in order to ensure clean air, clean water and thriving ecosystems nationwide, and to bring a halt to Canada’s contribution to climate change.
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For more information, or to arrange an interview, contact:
Jennifer Foulds, Environmental Defence Canada, (416) 323-9521 ext. 232; (647) 280-9521 (cell)
Simon Mui, NRDC, 415-875-6100