WASHINGTON -- March 23 -- "Today, automobile manufacturers reached an historic agreement with the Canadian government to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 5.3 million tons by 2010. In meeting these greenhouse gas limits, these vehicles will achieve approximately a 25% increase in fuel efficiency. This improvement will be made by using existing, cost effective technologies - like more efficient engines, smarter transmissions, and better aerodynamics - to make all their vehicles go farther on a gallon of gas. This agreement is similar to the Pavley Clean Car Law adopted by California and other states.
"To ensure that the auto companies comply with their commitment, the Canadian government is changing its environmental protection laws to create a regulatory backstop. Canada will be able to legally enforce the pact if the automakers fail to live up to their promises.
"This agreement is a breakthrough because it will both cut global warming emissions in Canada, and set the stage for similar reductions in the United States. Right now, California and seven eastern states either have, or are in the process of adopting clean car laws. With the addition of Canada, one-third of the North American auto market will have to meet California's tougher emissions rules. The automakers will find it financially impossible to make one clean set of cars for eight states and Canada, and a dirty set for the rest. Eight plus one equals 50.
"With this agreement, the automakers unilaterally disarm from their long-standing position that they cannot make clean cars. In fact, they have sued to overturn the California Clean Car Law which is the basis for Canada's action. The auto companies are now in the awkward position of telling a judge that they cannot make the same cars in California that they will make in Canada.
"Automakers have long claimed they cannot cut global warming emissions - and won't. Now they are promising Canada that they will. The automakers have now lost their last excuse for inaction. It is time for the automakers to bring the benefits of clean cars to Americans, and do in the U.S. what they have promised to do abroad."