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Canada’s Voluntary Agreement on Vehicle Greenhouse Gas Emissions: When the Details Matter

UCD-ITS-RP-07-38

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Suggested Citation:
Lutsey, Nicholas P. and Daniel Sperling (2007) Canada’s Voluntary Agreement on Vehicle Greenhouse Gas Emissions: When the Details Matter. Transportation Research Part D 12, 474 - 487

The 2005 voluntary agreement between the automobile industry and Canadian government to reduce greenhouse gas
emissions from passenger vehicles is evaluated. We analyze the likely effect of the agreement on emissions, and on use of
biofuels and advanced vehicle technologies. We conclude that the impact on emissions could be far less than suggested,
possibly even zero, even if automobile companies fully comply. The pros and cons of the Canadian agreement are assessed
and compared with other voluntary and mandatory greenhouse gas reduction programs. Some lessons learned include the
importance of specific performance metrics to evaluate progress, use of precise baseline measurements and methods, and
an appreciation of the asymmetry in information between most governments and the affected industries.