Canada & California Agree to Support Clean Transportation

The abbreviations for Canada and California often are the same CA—Now the climate standards will also be the same.

The governments of Canada and California announced a formal agreement to work together to advance clean transportation. The Memorandum of Understanding outlines several areas where the two jurisdictions will collaborate to decarbonize vehicles, engines, and fuels. The MOU outlines their intention to “collaborate on the development of our respective greenhouse gas regulations for light-duty vehicles…share information and best practices to accelerate deployment of zero-emission vehicles…and low-carbon clean fuel standards.”

Reducing transport pollution will help Canadians save money, clean our air, and help fight climate change. The auto sector is changing quickly, with electric and autonomous vehicles and other advanced technologies creating huge new opportunities for automakers, parts manufacturers, software developers, and Canada’s mining sector. As demand for cleaner and more efficient vehicles grows, investing in innovation is essential to ensure that Canadian automakers remain competitive and that we continue attracting the jobs of the future.

With the fifth-largest economy in the world, California remains a global leader in harnessing clean solutions to spark economic growth and create new, middle-class jobs. Canada likewise remains committed to ambitious climate action, and is taking effective, concrete measures to reduce pollution throughout its economy. Cleaner vehicles and fuels are key to meeting Canada’s climate goals.

The agreement commits Canada and California to work together on their respective regulations to cut down on greenhouse gas pollution from vehicles like cars, pickup trucks and SUVs. Effective regulations, like those currently in effect in California and Canada, help ensure that people can drive fuel-efficient cars that cut down on pollution and save money in fuel costs.

The agreement also commits Canada and California to work together to promote the uptake and opportunity of cleaner vehicles. This will ensure Canadians have access to a wide variety of vehicles as we work toward having all light-duty vehicles sold here being 100% zero-emission vehicles by 2040. To help us get there, Canada’s federal budget offers Canadians a rebate of up to $5,000 for qualifying zero-emission vehicles and other tax incentives for businesses that want to upgrade to zero-emission fleets. In California, automakers are required to ensure that zero-emission vehicles make up a growing proportion of their sales, and the state aims to have five million zero-emission vehicles on the road by 2030.

Canada and California will also share best practices and technical information about regulating cleaner fuels, building on California’s success with its pioneering Low-Carbon Fuel Standard. Canada is developing a Clean Fuel Standard that will cut emissions by 30 million tonnes in 2030—equivalent to taking 7 million cars off the road.

Pollution knows no borders. By working together with international partners and industry to find practical, affordable, and cleaner ways of doing things, the Government of Canada is fighting climate change, supporting good middle-class jobs, keeping life affordable and building the clean economy of the future.

In addition, the MOU details concrete actions that Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) and the California Air Resources Board (CARB) will take to strengthen their partnership, including capacity building, joint research projects, and the creation of an annual working group that discusses opportunities to partner on the development and implementation of policies and programs.

With the announcement, Canada is signaling that it may not follow the United States down the road of rolling back vehicle standards. Canada’s current cost-effective vehicle efficiency standards provide significant benefits to consumers, so it’s great to see Canada affirm its intention to work with California to uphold the existing regulation.

At the press conference Catherine McKenna, Canada’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change, said that regulatory alignment between Canada and California “means a bigger market for clean cars in North America.”

The combined vehicle sales in Canada, California, and the 13 states that follow California’s vehicle regulations in lieu of those at the level federal is over 40% of the total U.S.-Canada new car market, rising to half the market with the expected addition of Colorado. In the wake of the U.S. proposed standards rollback, Canada’s leadership on climate policy is needed.