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NUSA DUA, Indonesia - The Quebec government will adopt California-level standards to reduce pollution from new cars.

 

Provincial Environment Minister Line Beauchamp announced the news Wednesday morning after a meeting with her counterpart from the state at the United Nations climate change summit.

 

Beauchamp said the new standards will come into effect between 2010 and 2016.

 

Manufacturers would have to ensure their cars meet the California standard to reduce emissions by 30 per cent.

 

"The citizens of Quebec will be the primary beneficiaries of this regulation since new vehicles sold will be more efficient and environmentally friendly," Beauchamp said.

 

"Less gasoline will be required to travel the same distance, giving an undeniable advantage to Quebec consumers in the context of the growing increase in the price of fuel."

 

She added the standard would also benefit Quebec's manufacturing sector due to an increased demand for lighter auto parts, particularly those made out of aluminum.

 

Car manufacturers have been actively lobbying governments in North America to reject the California standard. But nearly 50 per cent of the market is now adopting or studying the standards which would essentially force the companies to comply.

 

"California has shown longtime leadership in the fight against climate change," said Beauchamp. "Quebec will be the first Canadian province to adopt this kind of regulation."

 

The announcement adds a new piece to Quebec's climate change plan, which aims to achieve Canada's Kyoto target of reducing emissions by six per cent below 1990 levels.

 

Transportation is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in Quebec, but Beauchamp predicted the new measure would reduce emissions by nearly two megatonnes.

 

Linda Adams, California's Environmental Protection Agency secretary, said carmakers should stop wasting their time with lawsuits against governments and start responding to the new regulations.

 

"Quebec's actions today sends a very important message to car manufactures to make the cars that consumers demand," said Adams.

 

"I think the message is very clear to auto manufacturers."

 

While car manufacturers have warned it will increase the price of cars, environmentalists have estimated consumers could save billions, while reducing their carbon footprint.

 

"This is a huge victory for North America," said Emilie Moorhouse of the Sierra Club of Canada environmental group.

 

"It's Quebec taking a lead in North America for fuel standards."

 

Both Prime Minister Stephen Harper's government and the U.S. federal government have refused to introduce a national standard to match the California regulations.

 

Beauchamp said the new proposed regulations, applying to automobiles and light trucks, would be subject to a 60-day public consultation starting in January.

 

(Courtesy of CanWest News)

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