Albert M. Stevens, Seminar September 29, 1998
This presents major challenges to all sectors of the economy and our current way of life.
The transport sector emissions are expected to grow by 26% above 1990 levels by 2010. This means that a reduction of 26 + 6 = 32% if the target is to be met.
The number of people that effect the reduction will be greater than now. It means that each must reduce their average GHG emissions by more than a third of current levels.
Other sectors are similar.
I will concentrate on the transport sector because it is typical of the nature and magnitude of the changes that will be necessary to approach the target.
The dilemmas arise because:
There are many other effects that raise doubts. There are few reasons to be encouraged that we can meet the targets. We can produce the technology to do it if we are prepared to pay.
There is no painless magic bullet that will let us do it. We cannot be sure that the world will afford the socio-economic price of stabilizing GHG emissions.
The above list is sufficient to illustrate why we should be sceptical that the GHG targets will be met.
A major reason for scepticism is captured in the following quote from John Goddard, a man that makes his living as a world traveller and lecturer: (many others share the sentiment)
the most appalling thing I see is the chronic indifference of the world leaders
to our critical problems of overpopulation and pollution. I'm not thinking of
any individual leader, because they're all guilty of concentrating on profit
and economic development. . . . our world is overpopulating at the rate of 85
million a year, and yet world leaders don't seem to realize the monumental
threat imposed by human fertility . . . The future looks pretty grim. Egypt is
bursting at the seams with 52 million, and yet there is no serious effort to
curb that population. Where are you going to put the people when the population
starts doubling every twenty-five or thirty years?
The following are some notes in answer to a request for input to the recent federal initive to develop policies that will help meet the GHG target:
for reducing Greenhouse Gases; A. M. Stevens
for: Sept. 18, 1998 meeting of TAC (Transportation Assn. of
For simplicity the following discussion is confined to CO2 production. We have to be careful not to produce excessive amounts of other undesirables such as NOX. We also must keep lots of greenery around to recycle the CO2 back to O2.
Reducing emissions is similar to the efforts to reduce dependence on imported oil in the mid 70's.
DIFFERENCE IS THAT THE PROBLEM WON'T GO AWAY WHEN OIL PRICES DROP. THE MEASURES
TAKEN HAVE TO PERSIST. THERE SHOULD BE NO GOING BACK TO THE
The task is formidable, but the efforts to reduce smoking provides some encouragement that once fashionable behaviour can be made unpopular.
There are many sources of CO2 but the one that is paramount in modern TRANSPORTATION is the consumption of hydrocarbon fuel by internal combustion engines.
Lowering CO2 production generally means LOWERING FUEL CONSUMPTION
How do we lower CO2 production by transport vehicle engines?
Fuels such as alcohol, natural gas and light petroleum fractions have higher hydrogen content. They also have lower heat and therefor energy content per unit volume or mass. Higher hydrogen content fuels require changes in i.c. engines to obtain the same power output.
The utilities should provide the energy from sources that do not involve combustion of carbon, and hydrocarbon fuels. Onboard fuel cell production of electricity is another contender. Most fuel cells use hydrocarbon fuels. They will produce some CO2 emissions.
Some initial steps for change:
The obvious step
toward eventual improvement is to tighten up, and enforce more stringent
standards for acceptable emissions (fuel consumption) for automobiles licensed
These have to be phased in over a period of years to give the manufacturers and owners time to respond. This can be started right away by the Dept. of the Environment Motor Vehicle Emission Standards group.
Such standards have to be enforced by the provinces, so they have to be involved and co-operative. The standards have to be enforced on the whole licensed fleet. New vehicles are now regulated by the CMVSS. However the CMVSS provides a good model for how a broader set of standards can be constructed and implemented.
A second step would determine the permissible fuel consumption for different sizes and missions of commercial vehicles.
It is well known in the trucking industry that significant fuel savings can be achieved by using 'small block' engines. These require the operator to be more active in using the transmission and marginally increase trip times.
Once acceptable power to GVM ratios are known these should be included in with the other truck licensing standards. This is an activity that fits with the previous work of Weights and Dimensions Standards. How to enforce such standards is unknown at this time. Work could begin on this aspect right away.
Another activity will be to review the Road and Street geometric and other standards to improve the fuel efficiency of the future highway and street system.
Poor signal timing and excessive use of stop signs are obvious targets for improvement. Several interchange designs include long travel distances, etc.
Better signal timing should be possible given the progress made in sensors, communications and computers. The problem is reasonably well understood but is expensive to implement, maintain and update.
Someone should review urban planning design standards to improve journey distance requirements. The obvious improvements are to density and lot size standards.
This should be looked at on a national basis and model standards developed. The major problems are to overcome the objections to the 'one size fits all' approach such as existed with the old CMHC rules which were aimed at minimum's. The new rules need to be aimed at maximums, or acceptable norms.
Higher speeds encourage higher fuel consumption. There should be hard data developed on the fuel consumption and trip times for fixed and variable length trips over a range of speeds by contemporary passenger and commercial vehicles.
Future determination of fuel consumption information developed for new vehicles may be possible to disaggregate and recombine to produce the kind of data that would show the effect of speed on the current fleet in use in sample jurisdictions.
These data are required to add credibility to the speed control regulations that will be required to meet the emission levels proposed. Higher speeds also encourage longer trip distances.
The 55 mph speed
limit imposed by the Carter administration in the
All the schemes that were developed during the mid 70's to conserve fuel should be brought back and policies developed to encourage their use. There are hosts of these including car pooling, multiple car occupancy lanes, bus priority lanes etc.
The airline industry developed several strategies to conserve fuel in the 70's. These should be applied vigorously and new schemes developed. Older, less fuel efficient aircraft should be scrapped, not sold to another carrier or country to continue their polluting ways.
The effects of
trying to regulate by competitive forces should be critically reviewed. E.g.,
it is obvious that overlapping services on low traffic routes in the
Every group that holds meetings scattered across the country should be encouraged to reduce the number of such meetings by at least a third. These can be replaced by more extensive use of electronic communication
Similarly the mass of paper should be kept to a minimum and electronic copy substituted where possible. The RDC should make an effort to be a leader in these directions. This will be unpopular with the participants and the airlines. It should however have the side effect of reducing travel expenses.
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End to date: 070421, ams