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B.C. introduces law to require cars, trucks sold by 2040 be zero emission (cbc.ca)
231 points by Tiktaalik 12 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 227 comments

Ever notice how seemingly all the predictions and new regulations deal in a timeframe always conveniently 10 or more years into the future? Everybody embraces denial so eagerly, even the ones claiming to be confronting the problem. Coastal flooding, unprecedented storms & droughts, crop damage, streams of refugees... these are happening NOW, and even if you stopped driving TODAY, like leave the car right where it's parked, forever (which we all literally need to do) it wouldn't be enough to "stop" climate change, since the climate has changed, for one thing, and since driving isn't the only cause. Though it's an important one, and if you never drove again, it would help. Minimally. And most people, a.k.a. "you," are probably not even willing to do that.

This law, like most of the others, is well intentioned but still too weak; it's "provisional living" just like how a junky's plan to kick always starts tomorrow. Quitting an addiction is a pain in the ass, but hey, now that we have this great plan for 2040, we can continue business as usual today. And even this would be, politically, something of a miracle to get passed. You wouldn't even be able to get it out of committee in, say Texas.

When the United States implemented corporate average fuel economy standards in 1975 - requiring all cars a manufacturer sold to average to a minimum fuel efficiency by 1978 - in response to the 73-74 oil embargo, they basically did just that. Little to no warning or time to prepare.

The end result? The US auto industry had to retool their factories and kill or redesign many of their products in order to meet the new standards (and many just paid the fines as long as they could). It was the largest change in the industry since WWII, and it destroyed almost all of their competitive advantage - outside of trucks which had relaxed standards - and resulted in decades of poor build quality that American cars are still disparaged for to this day. The Japanese and European automakers who operated mostly in markets that already demanded small cars weren't forced to retool and American car companies have been playing catchup ever since, without time to wind down their existing product lines and get the public used to small fuel efficient cars.

The fuel efficiency standards had to happen but the way in which they were implemented nearly brought down an entire industry, one that proved invaluable for national security during WWII when the allies needed to manufacture mountains of munitions and tanks. Governments can't implement huge policy changes without giving everyone time to adapt without causing massive unforeseen problems, ones which can only make the problem we're trying to solve a lot harder.

I find it difficult to accept reasoning that a law from 45 years ago is responsible for American car brands being low quality. They know perfectly well that the fatter margins are in trucks and SUVs, so that is where they focus their efforts.

American cars currently have good quality. There was a substantial period of time in which they didn't. That time period is what GP referred to. US automakers are still playing catch-up in terms of brand image and reliability engineering (as practiced by Toyota, through which quality improvements flow for decades), which persist for decades.

Furthermore, the fact remains that they don't actually make a ton of money on car sales but instead car service[0]. So there's little incentive on making a car that is truly 'Built to last'.

[0] https://www.edmunds.com/car-buying/where-does-the-car-dealer... (Sorry for all the adds - Reader View for better experience)

Edit: Spelling

I’d actually say the risk for the US is the other way round. European and Chinese manufacturers are going to jump on EV’s because of their domestic fleet economy standards, because of long-standing taxation on fuel, and because they are appropriate for domestic conditions with high population density, and American manufacturers risk carrying on producing gas guzzling SUV’s and being left behind. By the time electric cars are profitable at scale in the US, European and Chinese manufacturers will be producing tens of millions of units a year. The Chinese philosophy is “overtake on the bend” and they’re going to make the transition as sharp as they can.

They refer to WWII and it needs to be noted that the industry--broader than just autos, had to retool, for war production. It was rapid. It was govt dictum and that self-same WWII engine that they cite did what it had to do. Now. The Carter years..the oil embargo- those cars were grossly inefficient. The threat was immediate and the extent and length of the oil crisis was unknown. I do not --after the fact--assign overblown blame on remedial action. It's was called a crisis because it was. wwII was a crisis..because it was..

The issue the the CAFE law, is the externalities of the rapid change were paid for by the auto industry, whereas in World War Two, it was paid for by the government

You're right that the hamfisted approach rarely works as intended. I'm basically saying, there's no approach that will work to everyone's satisfaction; that's why we will not end up confronting climate change, only adapting to its consequences. We're good at the latter, not so good at the former. I hope I'm wrong of course.

If I were in the mood to argue with you I would ask (about the 1975 legislation) Did it raise fuel efficiency standards, ¿sí o no? I don't have an undue amount of national pride and I don't work in the automotive sector, so I don't have a strong opinion about America even having an auto industry. The only reason I would want a domestic auto industry would be to save resources currently wasted on trans-oceanic shipping and to have more lucrative blue-collar jobs on US soil for people. Give them good jobs and they are less likely to turn delinquent in various ways including at the ballot box.

But the harsh fact is, to mitigate the present crisis, the entire auto industry would need to go away, forever, and not just in the US, but worldwide. I think the scope of the change to our daily way of life, that would be necessary to achieve a low carbon footprint, is hard for most people to imagine. The closest thing would be maybe homelessness. Which doesn't quite capture it, but is in the ballpark. Or maybe a return to quasi-feudalism, where you're a serf working some lord's land with hand tools to produce food. Jim Kunstler favors this vision. It's plausible enough as sci-fi although I think he might be being a bit sentimental. At any rate they're both situations people don't want to imagine. So, we simply don't imagine it.

that's why we will not end up confronting climate change, only adapting to its consequences. We're good at the latter, not so good at the former.

Here's a Sci-fi scenario for the 22nd century. We have a burgeoning Solar System wide society. There are huge rotating space colonies, and the beginnings of a Dyson Swarm around the sun. There are inertially suspended orbital rings and space elevators around the rocky planets. However, there is one huge discrepancy. The Solar System appears to have two Venuses.

We really don't have the luxury of waiting here. The stakes are too high.

> and resulted in decades of poor build quality that American cars are still disparaged for to this day.

Wrong. The American carmakers failed to adapt to this new rule properly, while the Japanese carmakers fully embraced it and ended-up benefiting from it.

It's not so different from what's happening today with EVs. Some are pushing full-steam ahead for EVs, gaining all that know-how and expertise to build high-efficiency and high-reliability EVs with long ranges, while others drag their feet because they don't like change and they would rather keep milking their current ICE technology for decades more to come.

Guess which type of company is going to do very well in the future, and which will do poorly.

This fails to account for the fact that in the Japanese home market fuel efficiency was already a key requirement

> resulted in decades of poor build quality that American cars are still disparaged for to this day.

The poor build quality was there before 1975. There was no sudden decline in 1975.

From the article:

> "She says the legislation would set target dates of 10 per cent zero-emission sales by 2025, 30 per cent by 2030, and 100 per cent by 2040."

They are doing something within ten years.

Trying to ban all gas cars that quickly, apart from being infeasible, would be self-defeating because it would cause a backlash that would elect anyone who promised to undo the changes.

Just for comparison, check out what Ontario is doing:


"Gas stations in Ontario could be fined $10K/day if they don't display anti-carbon tax stickers."

We don't just need to ditch our cars: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080428120658.h...

> But the "floor" below which nobody in the U.S. can reach, no matter a person's energy choices, turned out to be 8.5 tons, the class found. That was the emissions calculated for a homeless person who ate in soup kitchens and slept in homeless shelters.

Energy isn't the problem, our dominant energy sources are the problem, as we all know.

Telling people they have to live like a homeless person isn't realistic, helpful, informative or true.

It's helpful to the extent it demonstrates just how much our energy infrastructure needs to change.

I think the statistic is useful. However, "telling people they have to live like a homeless person" isn't true, and the statistic needs that additional framing.

edit: Anyone care to explain the downvotes? The fact that we can't even discuss the possibility that "our way of life might not be sustainable" to me is a huge part of the problem facing us.

It's extremely misguided to think that we can maintain anything like our current standard of living and still reach anything like sustainable energy (or resource) use.

Our current lifestyle in the developed world is based on exploiting solar energy that has been stored millions of years ago. There is no pathway to a renewable energy system that anywhere meets the needs of global capitalism.

First off, renewables (45% of which in the US is just burning biomass) are serving more to supplement energy demands rather than replace fossil fuel usage. We also have no current path way to a majority wind+solar grid. The intermittent nature of these power sources requires energy storage or fossil fuel based "peaker" plants. There is no solution for energy storage on the grid at the scale that would be required to meet current energy needs, let alone the growth of energy demand.

But even if we completely solved the grid, we have no solution to the biggest part of the problem with is resource transportation. Transportation is vital to our current economic model and transportation requires high energy density fuels, otherwise your fuel becomes your cargo and you can't ship anything. Again, we have no solutions to these problems.

And most fundamentally, our economic model is predicated on borrowing against the future to pay for today. This requires that in the future we must always produce and consume more, which is impossible in a closed finite system.

The only realistic path toward actual sustainability is a considerable degradation in the quality of daily life. But very few people will even honestly discuss this fundamental reality, so we continue to move forward, using more energy, and more oil and producing more co2 each year than the last.

What you say is false. We are surrounded by far more energy than we need. We just have to continue solving difficult engineering problems in order to harness it. We are doing an OK job from a technical standpoint (especially in the last 20 years), but a god-awful job from a political standpoint.

You sound like you're quoting from the Limits to Growth or some equally pessimistic mutli-decade-old study.

> We just have to continue solving difficult engineering problems in order to harness it.

But that requires large amounts of cheap energy to do. The last 200 years haven't been an insane time of innovation just because we, as a species, got magically more brilliant. It's because we had unprecedented accessed to cheap energy.

That fuel became available because of the industrial revolution. Further technological advances will make other forms of energy cheaply available. As for intelligence, our civilization certainly has become more capable since technology and science build upon each other.

Address the grid storage issue? There's not enough lithium resources on the planet, for instance, to use lithium batteries to store even a day's worth of USA energy usage?

Your inability to imagine better energy storage technology is your justification for declaring that civilization as we know it is doomed?

What you're talking about is exclusively chemical storage. Check out thermal and mechanical storage. Those are likely the more promising large scale solutions and both are already used in a variety of different ways at industrial scales. I'm particularly partial to the use of heated salt via solar thermal plants as an affordable and scalable solution. Several such plants are already in operation.

The ad hominem attack is not really necessary. I'd need a citation for a grid storage solution at scale? Else its just more wind.

Correct, wind power is one part of the future solution.

Ignoring any future and ongoing discovery of lithium resources, yes, just like there wasn't enough oil to put us where we are now, there isn't enough lithium today for a day's worth of storage of all of US's energy needs. That is not a fair assessment, however.

Why not deploy nuclear power and electrified rail for freight?

> 8.5 tons, the class found. That was the emissions calculated for a homeless person who ate in soup kitchens and slept in homeless shelters.

Emissions of EU are, on the average, 6.4 tons CO2 per capita. There is large variance between different countries, though.


(But these numbers don't include the carbon footprint from goods imported from outside and consumed in the EU.)

What is the nature of those emissions? Mostly from agriculture and food distribution?

>These basic services--including police, roads, libraries, the court system and the military--were allocated equally to everyone in the country in this study.

In other words, poor metrics give meaningless results.

I haven’t read the source, but some other examples could be clothing and water.

For years, I've been telling people they probably couldn't even fart without a significant carbon footprint. Now I have proof.

> Ever notice how seemingly all the predictions and new regulations deal in a timeframe always conveniently 10 or more years into the future?

This isn’t correct, the EU and China both have fleet emission standards for cars which bite in 2021 at around 100-120 gCO2/km, which is already strict, and scale down from there. This is one of the reasons why VW is aiming to massively scale up EV production in the next few years.

Historical legislation has been increasingly (not linearly) tough as well. https://imgur.com/a/O7mLqOp

Citation for >> Coastal flooding, unprecedented storms & droughts, crop damage ?

Looking for significant increase from baseline and root-cause being human-caused climate change.

And streams of refugees? Surely they're not feeling from their war-torn home nations. This post is sensationalism and part of the reason why people don't take climate alarmists seriously.

> And most people, a.k.a. "you," are probably not even willing to do that.

I'll be honest - right now, I fall into that camp. I enjoy driving. I enjoy my vehicles, both on and off the road. Probably not the right answer, but as you noted, even if I and everyone else stopped - it's too late. It was probably too late back when I was a child, and didn't even know how to drive.

But let's say I were willing. How am I to get to my job?

I live in Phoenix, Arizona - where in the summertime, midnight temperatures can easily break 100 degrees F; yes, it is literally possible here to fry an egg on the sidewalk during the daytime in the summer (you can use a slow cooker inside your car, too! multipurpose vehicles!).

I live approximately 30 minutes away from my work. Walking is out of the question. I could potentially bike to work - but my work doesn't have showers, nor are there any places nearby enough to shower and then ride to work (without needing to shower again). This of course assumes I won't die of heatstroke (but let's say I'm fit enough to avoid that).

You could say "well, you need to live closer to your work" - this would be great - if there were any homes nearby my work, which there really isn't. It's inside an industrial park area, that surrounds a municipal airport - not much in the way of houses; maybe some apartments (in very seedy areas, mind you - this area used to be a truckstop not too many years ago, and there are plenty of holdovers from that time).

Then comes the question of how to transport all of my crap from my house to this new (fictional) home, without having my own vehicle (and, since we've all stopped using them - well, not sure what you do then).

I suppose telecommuting might be an option - maybe in such a scenario as "no car for you...or you...or you" employers would go for that more? Not all jobs of course could do that...

I guess what I'm getting at is that here in the United States, for the most part outside of some very singular municipal areas - most people simply cannot easily do without a vehicle of some sort, whether for personal transportation, or to transport others.

Whatever ultimately happens, we're all probably going to be painfully forced into it. We won't have a choice, it likely won't be gradual. Imagery from Brin's Earth comes to mind. In the end, we all very well might have to "leave everything parked" and simply walk away.

I don't think it's going to be pretty.

I'm in much the same camp. I'm in the military. So I live only a few miles from work and have plenty of shower/locker facilities. I could very easily ride a bike. I sometimes walk to work. But I don't have the luxury of a regular workday. Sometimes I need to get to work NOW, an asap situation. Sometimes I work 16-hour days and any time waiting for public transport means less time sleeping. Sometimes I have to bring 100lbs of stuff with me. I just cannot see how any sort of public transport would ever be practical.

An electric car would probably work for me on a daily basis, but I also have family to visit that are 500+ km away (in woods, no trains/bus options). Somtimes I have to go to training events at locations many hundreds of KM away. I cannot afford to own two vehicles. So until EVs can do both daily commutes and long weekend road trips, my one car will remains IC.

The situation might be different if there were an absolute standard on battery packs and there were quick swap stations where a pack could be replaced in the time it presently takes to fill up; by a completely automated system.

In that environment the storage cells would end up being leased, probably by a third party that sets up a contract among the stations and end users (ok several for competition).

It might work out; but it just isn't anywhere near as simple as dispensing 20 gallons of toxic, volatile, extremely flammable material.

>> toxic, volatile, extremely flammable material.

It doesn't have to be those things. Diesel isn't volatile, or even very flammable compared to other bits of your car. Toxic depends on perspective. Don't drink the stuff, but it is possible to source diesel from renewable sources. Zero-carbon doesn't necessarily mean not burning fuels in an engine. There are zero-carbon fuel cycles, even fuel made from atmospheric carbon.

That was the BetterPlace model [0]. All is left are several deserted battery-change stations across Israel [1]. I think the fact this model failed miserably in the tiniest of countries is telling.

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Better_Place_(company)

[1] https://images.haarets.co.il/image/fetch/w_544,q_auto,c_fill...

Just get an electric car? What's so hard about your situation?

> I could potentially bike to work - but my work doesn't have showers

You could perhaps use an electric bicycle, electric moped, or a 1+1 two-seater like a Renault Twizy:


All cheaper options than a full sized electric car and still pretty practical to get around in.

Hydrogen burning ICE is really the only viable solution for a country as big as the US. I am not sure people understand how undeveloped the US is.

2nd best option IMO would be hemp oil diesel. While not the best on emissions the fuel would offset carbon during production.

Neither option will be able to defeat the oil industry

Battery storage is too inefficient to do at scale but a battery in every home with solar panel roofs and intelligent grids would do quite a bit to offset issues.

Again the companies would fight and prevent this... in fact they are fighting solar successfully even in states like AZ

Where do you expect to get that hydrogen? Electrolysis is too inefficient to be economically practical. Currently most hydrogen is produced from fossil fuels, which rather defeats the purpose.


That's good of you, but it that wouldn't scale to everyone without crashing the economy.

I challenge you to come live where I do without a car. Come during the summer.

When the average temp gets over 105 and your body simply doesnt cool itself guess what happens to that long walk you want to do ?


The "children" comment may have been out of line, but this type of response only makes the thread worse.

>> even if you stopped driving TODAY, like leave the car right where it's parked, forever ... it wouldn't be enough

rdiddly - have you got a citation for that? more importantly - did you ride your bike today?

Not sure why that would be the most important, but yeah a bike has been my main mode, daily, year-round, for 27 years except for a few-month period in 1994 and again in 1998 and 2001. That includes commuting, regular grocery shopping, 2 years of Costco runs (trailer), and 5 years of transporting 120 lbs of music gear to gigs (trailer again). Haven't owned a car exclusively since 1987 and haven't owned a share of one since 1998. On the day you asked that, I walked instead though, because the destination was close enough and I was in the mood.

Edit: I also drove a cab for a couple of years, if you want to count that (but I biked to the garage).

California attempted a zero-emissions rule in 1990, with a target of 5% by 2001. That failed.

Industry has fought this for far too long. Tell that to your grandchildren, if you (will) have any.

For three decades, California has set the benchmarks for auto emission standards. But now, all that may be changing. In a series of recent cases, California's regulations have been challenged in court, not just by the auto industry, but by the federal government....

In 1990, the California Air Resources Board adopted a regulation requiring that 2% of new car sales by 1998. 5% by 2001 and 10% of all large automobiles sold from 2003 onward be zero-emission vehicles (ZEV's) — cars powered by electricity or alternative fuels, like hydrogen....


Hasty and radical changes will certainly lead to even more harm.

I'm curious as to what a realistic climate policy would be, if such a policy exists. We're generally acting too slowly reduce climate change but if we act too quickly there'll be a lot of social and political backlash. But as things get worse there will be more mass human migration which generates more social and political upheaval but not in a direction that would improve the environment.

A broad carbon tax with offsetting rebates would be a good start. It's a free market solution that requires minimal direct government intervention, and will have effects across all sectors. Start with a level that wouldn't be too great a shock, then ramp up on a pre-planned schedule so businesses and individuals can plan ahead.

BC implemented a carbon tax in 2008:

In 2008, the province implemented North America’s first broad-based carbon tax, proving that it is possible to reduce emissions while growing the economy. Between 2007 and 2015, provincial real GDP grew more than 17%, while net emissions declined by 4.7%. https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/environment/climate-chang...

Obviously a 4.7% decline over a decade isn't enough, but it's better than a 17% or greater increase. Increasing the tax should increase the effect. (Of course, even with rebates making it revenue neutral, it will also cause some pain for those in industries that are heavy producers of greenhouse gasses, but unfortunately some amount of disruption is inevitable with the degree of change that is required.)

Also, allow for negative carbon tax on carbon extraction—there are already systems in place that can extract carbon from the air, and planned systems that should be able to do so for ~$100/tonne currently. This should keep improving, but if we rely on carbon extraction to be profitable without considering the positive externality, it will be needlessly delayed, and we need to get started scaling this up asap.

Finally, even with these changes, it's likely that some form of geoengineering will be required as a stopgap, to prevent temperatures rising to catastrophic levels while we're in the process of bringing CO2 emissions down, and then negative. So we should be doing small-scale testing of the most promising interventions (such as stratospheric aerosol injection) now, to prepare for when they're needed.

The Paris agreement, even if it were implemented faithfully, was still woefully inadequate. Not only that, but the longer we wait, the more severe cuts will be necessary.

Because of these considerations and our previous track record, I just really don't see the world cooperating on this issue well enough to meaningfully cut emissions. Eventually, renewables will become much cheaper than fossil fuels. At that point, emissions will hugely drop just due to market forces. We'll already be locked into some pretty bad outcomes by then though.

Best commentary I have read on the subject is from Bill Gates. Here's an example:


The climate changed, that's a fact. Driving partially caused it, that's a fact.

So what?

The climate changed, that's it! Learn to cope with it.

I think the idea is to try to prevent further changes in the same direction.

legislation hasn't been linearly more difficult to reach, it's actually been quite aggressive over the years to say we are setting "convenient" regulations just seems uninformed. The strides automakers and legislators have made have not been perfect but they have been very good.


True, but it nonetheless encourages manufacturers to invest in zero emissions vehicles. Switching to clean energy can't happen overnight, and the real solution is population control, but it's still a signal in the right direction.

Having said that, I have no strong opinion on whether humanity is smart enough limit its own growth enough to avoid decimating all the other species and the natural balance, though if I had to guess I'd say "no". We seem to be kind of like locusts that way.

> Coastal flooding, unprecedented storms & droughts, crop damage, streams of refugees

None of these claims are true. Sea level is stable. Storms and droughts are more moderate than ever recorded. Crops and food production is amazingly abundant and constantly improving. There are fewer wars now than at any other known point in history.

> Sea level is stable

Wow, this level of denial is amazing. You can literally see how the rising sea level is effecting parts of the US. If you live on the East coast it's not too hard see the rising sea level with your own eyes. Driving along the NH coast for example and you can see a huge number of "beach front" homes for sale with water on both sides of 1A and in the front lawns of all of these [1].

Miami is another place where sea level rise is having a visible affect on the city [2].

Tangier Island in Virginia is disappearing [3] you can look it up on Google Earth time lapse and literally watch it yourself.

[1] https://www.nhpr.org/post/rising-seas-are-already-costing-nh...

[2] https://www.businessinsider.com/miami-floods-sea-level-rise-...

[3] https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/2018/09/clima...

Obviously the land is sinking in places as it is also rising in others. If the sea was rising we would see this same problem on every single coastline. Get a clue.

untrue, actually, but I'll let you google. There are several features of the eastern seaboard that make it uniquely vulnerable.

would you believe that the behaviour of enormous ball of rock, ice and water is not easy to intuit? that seems pretty obvious to me.

> Sea level is stable

What are you talking about? Even the most ardent denialists do not deny sea level is rising. More recent data show the rate of increase is accelerating. Hard to take anything else you say seriously after that.

There is a lot of criticism of this legislation. Here it is:


Paragraph 9 is what everyone's talking about, but the general approach of the bill is to implement a gradual increase in the fraction of ZEVs sold each year until the final cut-off in 2040. Specifically:

7 The following targets are established for the purpose of reducing greenhouse gas emissions in British Columbia: (a) in 2025 and in each subsequent year, at least 10% of all new light-duty motor vehicles sold or leased in British Columbia must be zero-emission vehicles; (b) in 2030 and in each subsequent year, at least 30% of all new light-duty motor vehicles sold or leased in British Columbia must be zero-emission vehicles; (c) in 2040 and in each subsequent year, 100% of all new light-duty motor vehicles sold or leased in British Columbia must be zero-emission vehicles.

In addition to these hard targets, BC has a carbon tax and the ability to increase the carbon tax rate over time to provide a more efficient incentive for residents to make use of ZEVs - credits notwithstanding.

I prefer to crank up the carbon tax and allow people to make their own choices on how to reduce carbon production. However, I am not everyone. Many people hate the concept of a "tax" and it is politically more palatable to regulate auto dealers. Combining a moderate carbon tax (BC has one of the highest in the world) with targeted interventions like the ZEV vehicle target seems like a good approach.

This is an empty promise. BC, Ontario and many other provinces made emission reduction promises for 2020 back is the early 2000’s. It’s already clear these won’t be met, so I am dubious of the province to meet something this far off

After all, the politicians passing this will be dead by then, or at the very least out of office, so why bother passing legislation that will actually fix stuff when you can just pass the problem to the next generation while still reaping the political benefits?

> BC, Ontario and many other provinces made emission reduction promises for 2020 back is the early 2000’s. It’s already clear these won’t be met, so I am dubious of the province to meet something this far off

What promises did BC make? I wasn't able to find the specific promises, so I can't tell what you mean.

BC is currently sitting at about -30% per capita CO2 emissions relative to 2000 [1]. Total emissions reduction isn't quite as impressive, but they have still reduced CO2 while increasing population and GDP.[2] Hard to say more without knowing what you're referencing, but it's still significantly better than most jurisdictions!

Ontario is not really the scope of these comments, but I took a look out of curiousity. Back in 2006, they set goals for 2014, 2020, 2030, and 2050. They met the 2014 goal [3], mostly through reduction of co2 emissions in the electricity sector. To meet the 2020 goals, they needed a bigger reduction, and had a strong plan[4] to meet it - subsidize electric cars, cap and trade industrial emissions, etc - but they elected a populist idiot who scrapped all that. So I agree that Ontario won't meet their 2020 goal.

[1] http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/soe/indicators/sustainability/image...

[2] http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/soe/indicators/sustainability/ghg-e...

[3] https://media.assets.eco.on.ca/web/2016/11/2016-Annual-GHG-R...

[4] https://media.assets.eco.on.ca/web/2016/11/2016-Annual-GHG-R...

And I think in the 1970's it was Jimmy Carter that demanded all cars get 40mpg by 1990 so...

Compact cars (Tercel, Escort, Civic, etc) were getting 40mpg in 1990. If it weren't for the perpetual safety arms race making vehicles fat we'd likely have crossovers that get a real world 40-50mpg by now.

When you spin it like that, that sounds like a good thing. Though more efficient cars AND increasingly fewer people on the roads may have helped carbon emissions.

So I guess anyone out anywhere beyond the lower mainland is screwed after 2040?

There's a lot of BC that's far away from sources of power.

But then again, the BC government might as well be the Metro Vancouver government. They really give such a small amount of shits about anybody living outside the lower mainland.

Sure, if you take today's technology and apply it to 2040 then it doesn't paint a pretty picture. However if you assume that technology will advance over 20 years, then things do look better. Battery technology, cost of solar and other off-the-grid energy sources, and electric vehicle supply chains have changed significantly since 2000, and will likely continue to do so by 2040. It's very difficult to predict what things will look like by then.

And yep, in places like BC where most of the population lives in cities, you tend to get laws much more oriented towards what city dwellers want.

> Sure, if you take today's technology and apply it to 2040 then it doesn't paint a pretty picture.

Obviously, newer and improved tech would be even better, and if we have it, that's great. But I'm not convinced we need it.

Even if we were just stuck with today's 2019-era technology, we could still meet this mandate by 2040, just by widely deploying the green technology we already have on-hand today.

Rural and suburban communities don't need any reduction in quality of life to meet this mandate, we just need to deploy today's tech reliably out there.

Is rooftop solar even viable in the northern half of the province? High latitudes get way less sun.

Yeah in Northern BC solar is pretty marginal I think. BC does have heaps of hydro electric power though. There is a lot of potential for wind power off the coast of Haida Gwaii as well (and I assume many other places off the northern coast).

Have my girlfriend's father out for the weekend from Nanaimo. Just last night he was telling us about Kitimat where he grew up. They drilled tunnels through mountains to create enourmous hydro generating stations. Pretty interesting stuff. I'd be curious to hear more about the environmental impacts of that project—but yes lots of hydroelectric power up there—and potential for more if I understand correctly.


That's great for urban folks, but doesn't really help people living off the grid.

How do you get fuel for your gas combustion engine now? How do you get electricity now?

I personally am not in that situation, but people who haul diesel & other fuels out into the backwoods do exist. Batteries aren't quite as viable for that because they're way less energy dense and in general less environmentally stable.

Well, we have 21 more years to figure that out. Besides, it is not that all vehicles that take gas will suddenly disappear.

So there will be more than 21 years to discover an alternative.

There are some people using micro-hydro for off-grid living: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MUNMjdmGIPI&list=PLEZ2hvCDKU...

I know a lot of people living off the grid who get their electricity via small-scale hydro.

Marginal as in not cost effective? Or marginal as in barely provides any juice?

With a decade or two more of cost scaling, we may be able to very effectively deploy solar in a lot of places we wouldn't consider today due to economics.

I don't know much about solar power, but in Haida Gwaii (which is pretty far North and fairly gloomy) in winter you get around 1-1.3kwh/m2. Doesn't seem like a lot?


> Is rooftop solar even viable in the northern half of the province? High latitudes get way less sun.

Most towns/cities aren't nearly as space constrained outside the lower mainland, so larger non-rooftop solar would be an option (along with the wind/hydro/etc that others have mentioned)

High altitudes can actually get a lot more sun if you are above the clouds. But BC isn’t really high altitude like Tibet is, they just have lots of mountains. Edit: read parent wrong, never mind about altitude.

Latitude, not altitude.

Oh oops. In that case, whether you get a lot of sun or not depends on what season you are in. But mostly northern BC is a rain forest like southern Alaska or even western Washington/Vancouver, not the best place for solar.

Solar power actually works better to the north where there is less cloud cover, eg see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_power_in_Alaska and https://energyhub.org/yukon-territory/.

Wind probably does pretty good up there.

Lots of mountains, but sparsely populated so they don't need to find all that many locations.

Wind only really makes sense offshore/on the Western coast of the island, and in a few other limited places. They stuck a turbine on the top of Grousse mountain (a PR stunt for the Olympics), and it barely moved.

Solar can work in the interior, but isn't much use on the coast.

Hydro is the main renewable source of energy out here. It has it's issues of course, but it does provide a lot of cheap, reasonably-green energy.

There’s a sense that individuals in rural areas will need to move into urban environments for the sake of climate change.

No thanks. Forcing millions from their homes is unlikely, and you couldn't pay me 1m to live in the city. Just because mostly that same population screwed up the countryside with irresponsible energy use does not entitle them to now ask me to move.

> Forcing millions from their homes is unlikely

You'll be lucky if it's mere millions: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/dec/21/devastat...

There’s historical precedent in the relocation of Newfoundland outports in the ‘60s. One reason that was given at the time was to move individuals into areas supported by modern infrastructure.

The idea of people needing to congregate into large, dense urban centers while global climate change apparently wreaks havoc on our food supply chain is down-right psychotic.

How significantly has battery technology really changed? As far as I can tell, batteries haven't become that much better. I don't see how they'll become that much better in the future either.

20 years ago the EV-1 was the state of the art, with 26 KWh of NiMH batteries. And that was a massive advancement over the lead acid batteries the EV-1 used when introduced a couple of years prior.

In the '80's kids RC toys were powered by a fat yellow battery the size of a hot dog bun that basically everyone from that era will recognize.

Today, a single rechargeable AA battery can hold twice the power as that '80's hot-dog battery. That's a big improvement, over 10x more dense, with more improvements in the pipeline.

> In the '80's kids RC toys were powered by a fat yellow battery the size of a hot dog bun that basically everyone from that era will recognize.

I know what you're talking about - but if you're talking about things like the Tamiya Grasshopper or similar - those RC vehicles were not "kids toys" but rather hobbyist-grade RC. At the time, a full setup would cost a few hundred dollars; even today, to purchase a new Tamiya RC kit vehicle, it will set you back a couple hundred when you factor in everything.

I know this because I recently did it; the car was a little over $100.00 off Amazon, then I had to pick up the electronics (which I didn't go cheap on), plus I added some "hop ups" (better motor, ball bearing upgrade, tires, etc). Then the battery and charger.

So - even today - I wouldn't classify it as a "kids toy" (teenage and older hobbyists don't qualify as "kids" in this sense, but that's just my opinion of course); there's too much money involved. If you or someone you knew had one of these plus all the other stuff, they were a lucky person indeed (a friend of mine in middle school had one, back when the ESC was resistance-based - I went in a different direction, and had a bunch of computer crap - so I guess we were both lucky in different ways).

I consider kid's RC toys to be anything costing under $100.00 and "ready-to-run" (RTR), usually without any kind of real servo or speed controls (that said, even that level has changed greatly; what you can get today for around $50.00 beats the pants off of anything you could get for that amount in the 80s - even in 80s dollars).

You'd need 6 AA batteries to deliver the same voltage as one of those RC car packs and give a direct comparison.

They were typically 6x sub-C cells, with a capacity of 1000mAh. (I remember paying extra for a 1300mAh pack!). You can get 5000mAh cells today, so it's a 5x improvement.

There's also hydrogen in addition to battery electric.

For most of B.C wood-gasification would be a great solution!


You can't haul electricity into the wilderness.

When I was out deep in the wilderness on mountains in the middle of Asia far far far off the grid and away from even roads, there was no petroleum to be found, but the inns I stayed in always had electricity (either via local hydro, solar, or both).

It's a humorous irony that people see petroleum as vital for off-the-grid living. A dependence on regular petroleum deliveries is not really that "off-grid".

> There's a lot of BC that's far away from sources of power.

How do they get power now? Anywhere that has electricity today could be charging electric cars today. And fuel cells exist, for the limited use cases where electricity isn't ideal

I think what OP is saying is currently you can drive between communities and not have to worry about filling up (600km to a tank). If your EV only gets 400km, how are you going to get between those locations. As another commentor pointed out, there is a lot of time for charging stations to be built.

400km is the current range, not the range in 2040.

It's more the hundreds of kilometers of wilderness between many communities in BC.

Today's zero emission Fuel Cell cars already have average range of over 560km. (See the 2019 Honda Clarity, for example). And this law doesn't take effect for another 20 years. We can probably get these communities some hydrogen refueling stations by then.

560km in -20F weather? Not sure about that. Also that Honda wouldn't take a snow drift without falling apart. People who live in cities take their public services fore granted. If you're out in the country you NEED a truck and almost certainly a plow to attach to it.

I live in Michigan, I drive through the upper peninsula every winter. My EV does get reduced range below freezing, but it still works just fine.

And Hydrogen Fuel supposedly works much better than EVs in the extreme cold. https://www.greencarreports.com/pictures/1090078_toyota-tout... (They tested at -22F in Yellowknife, Canada)


Slightly off-topic, but I hate that most climate change issues get framed in discussions as "everyone needs to move into cities, where they will instantly be dirt poor and have terrible lives".

There's no reason we can't keep rural/suburban communities quality of life high and still take the tech we already have, and just use it to help our suburban/rural communities reduce their CO2 usage. We have a lot of technology to do this already, but we need to more aggressively deploy it.

> but we need to more aggressively deploy it.

...you mean, more aggressively market it in a way that people won't mind paying out the --- for it, right?

I mean - someone is going to have to pay for it, either now, or later. But people don't want their bills rising crazy high, and they really won't want to pay for their neighbor's solar panels or whatnot (I'm talking the United States right now, where we can't even agree on proper health care coverage - it might be a different case in BC).

I'm not sure how it will be solved. Probably like everything else - in a panic.

> people won't mind paying out the --- for it, right? (snip) But people don't want their bills rising crazy high

So, today in 2019, I can buy 100% clean renewable electricity, from the local heavily-regulated electrical utility. The "market rate" price of this is exactly 1 cent extra, per kilowatt hour. - https://www.consumersenergy.com/-/media/CE/Documents/renewab...

According to the US EIA, the average household uses about 867kwh per month. Most Michigan households could switch to 100% renewable electricity, for a real-world price of $8.67 extra per month. That's it. No fees, no installation, no new equipment. Literally check one box, get 100% renewable energy.


I know Michigan is not British Columbia. I am aware these costs vary by region. I know not everyone can afford this, and that it is a position of privilege to be able to spend an extra $9/month on fancier electricity. But the cost here is literally cheaper than Netflix, and it prevents about 1.2 tons of CO2 from hitting the atmosphere (per household, per month).

I don't think I'm exaggerating at all, when I say we really have all the tech we need, and we really just need to deploy it everywhere. Yes, it costs more. But only a little bit more, for such a huge benefit, it seems like an obvious thing we should be doing.

Trucks are the next target for electrification, and the results will certainly be much better all around. Electric motors go hand in hand with endless torque, and four wheel drive (including four full independent drives) is much simpler for an electric vehicle.

They haven't come to market yet but IMO trucks are going to make kickass platforms for fuel cell & electric. Their chassis can handle extra weight for extended range better than passenger vehicles, and the P100D has been dyno'd at more than 900lb-ft of torque. I am also hopeful electric motors will do great things for 4LO.

This might mean that those living less sustainably may have to pay more. From an externalities point of view, this might be a good thing.

> This might mean that those living less sustainably may have to pay more.

I would strongly urge you to be careful with this language. Don't be so quick to assume folks living rural/suburban lifestyles are living any less sustainably.

These folks are what make city living possible in the first place. And city folk have plenty of huge-CO2-footprint problems of their own that everyone conveniently forgets, because it isn't literally dumping gasoline into an automobile.

> I would strongly urge you to be careful with this language. Don't be so quick to assume folks living rural/suburban lifestyles are living any less sustainably.

If they aren't, they don't have anything to worry about when very unsustainable practices are abolished.

> These folks are what make city living possible in the first place.

A minority are, and they'll have to charge more for those services.

> And city folk have plenty of huge-CO2-footprint problems of their own that everyone conveniently forgets, because it isn't literally dumping gasoline into an automobile.

What are some examples of those city-specific CO2 problems?

> Don't be so quick to assume folks living rural/suburban lifestyles are living any less sustainably.

I wasn't thinking only of carbon footprint, but also of things like electricity and water hookups. The cost to provide basic utilities in rural areas has to be a lot higher per capita than in the city.

The vast majority of those living outside of major cities are those growing food or working in key resource industries like lumber and mining. Those that are not in those industries are in supporting industries like grocery stores and barbers.

More and more people are losing farms that have been in their families for generations. The average farmer is a grandfather/grandmother and trends show no sign of shifting towards a younger demographic. Younger people see working on the farm as an economic risk. Increasing taxes on rural folks would be a massive mistake. Mark my words, by 2040 farmers will be rare if nothing changes and the price of food will sky rocket not from climate change but from lack of a labor force.

Or are you saying that the added emissions from living outside of a city are not worth undertaking because we just don't need those resources? That's nonsensical.

"The vast majority of those living outside of major cities are those growing food or working in key resource industries like lumber and mining."

This isn't remotely true. The overwhelming bulk of people living outside of major cities simply live outside of major cities. In the United States some 4 million people own or work on farms. 60 million people live in rural locations. I highly doubt the other 56 million are in forestry and mining.

Some people live in rural places for no particular reason than that's where they like to live. I live in a rural location, and I certainly don't gnash and gnaw about how everyone is going to starve unless I have a black-soot belching F350. I can actually imagine a world where I can live sustainably as well.

The number of farmers is decreasing not because it is harder to be a farmer, but because farming is becoming more efficient and mechanized. Food is not becoming more expensive relative to everything else, it is becoming cheaper.

Rural communities are being hit because the amount of labor in key resource industries keeps going down. So kids move to the city where they can find a future, and so on. It’s been like that for a couple of hundred years.

Cities will continue to subsidize rural areas with their taxes as a result. Less density means infrastructure is used less efficiently, and so need significant transfers of wealth from the cities to keep being viable. That is probably unavoidable, but the cities can also subsidize rural areas in leveraging EVs as well.

> The number of farmers is decreasing not because it is harder to be a farmer, but because farming is becoming more efficient and mechanized.

Yes, but if the children of farmers have left and aren't going to take on their parents' industry, what happens when they truly can't do it anymore? The machines don't run the farm, yet, they only make running it more efficient and easy. You still have to know what to do, and go out and get it done, and this isn't something that people can just pick up in a day.

If the natural apprenticeship mechanism that used to provide for this has been broken, what's going to replace it?

Technology progresses, the amount of labor needed to run a farm decreases. Not all the kids are leaving, just lost of them. Also, the farms are increasingly becoming corporations rather than family affairs anyways, they do find people to hire if they pay enough. Otherwise, they just reduce labor needs by mechanizing.

The real kick in the pants is that when you can get away with half as many farmers, because of improvements in agricultural technology, you can only support half as many grocery stores, doctors, gas stations and the like. The empty spaces get emptier, and less comfortable.

I'm not too worried about farms. Governments haven't had a problem with massive agriculture subsidies and I doubt that will change. Labor costs on farms may skyrocket but that will also throw fuel on the mechanization fire.

Food is cheap right now in part because of exploitation of labor. We probably should be paying more for our food.

I bet you can stick a snow plow on one of these: https://products.rivian.com/

I'm sure you could but this truck seems marketed towards people who haven't owned a truck. "Adventure Vehicle" sounds like its built for those soccer moms who would have otherwise gotten a Ford "Explorer". At best, its unproven. At worst, its every other eco-suv this time with a bed. The video preview doesn't even have a basic hitch ball on the back.

Aren't hitch balls normally optional? (Don't know, never bought a truck, never driven a new truck. Always used—and for those my dad was always having to install hitch balls himself)

I'm sure if you try hard and use all of your creative juices you can imagine that it's just the beginning of a flood of projects that will have completely changed things by 2040.

But even then, that truck you dismiss has an 11,000 lb towing capacity, some 800ft lbs of torque, etc. Sure sounds like a "soccer mom" vehicle...

Just because it can tow 11k per the SAE test (basically a power/brakes test in case anyone was wondering) doesn't mean it's actually good at it for most use cases. The recharge/refuel time hits electrics really hard with current tech. For a fleet vehicle that doesn't hit its range limit ever and can recharge all night it's probably great. For anything where you are pulling enough weight or putting on enough miles to need substantially more than a full charge in a day it's gonna be a massive pain.

"Muh torque" sure is nice but really isn't all that big a deal for rural use cases. Your average HNer's landscaper that drags 10k of truck and trailer through city traffic all day needs torque and power far more.

Don't forget the 4 independent motors!

I predict the term "quad" will have a completely different meaning for off-road enthusiasts in 2040.

You won't find much hydrogen infrastructure in rural BC. Also that range is for flat land, driving in mountainous terrain can take those numbers down dramatically.

That said, there's really only so many main highways in BC, and most of them have pretty decent charging infrastructure (in the Southern and Central bits anyway). The main exception is the route North of Whistler to Kamloops - charge stations in Lillooet would be a nice addition.

I grew up in a very small, isolated place in northern BC. Power was produced by a diesel locomotive engine up on blocks that ran 24/7. Except when it didn't, normally in the dead of the very long winter.

I briefly worked for a boss in Alaska who normally didn't have electric power at all. Everything was done by burning some fuel, including bathing. To check the mail, he had to take his boat downriver into town.

There will a big market for used trucks unless they make further changes to the emissions and inspection laws. Also, AirCare was cancelled, so older vehicles aren't currently under as much scrutiny as a few years ago.

Look at it through their eyes. Screwing "those filthy hicks that hold us back" is a fringe benefit. They'd never admit it but they don't feel bad for making everyone else suffer, after all thats's what you get for voting for the "wrong" party.

I think you're ascribing an intent that's just not there. Certainly I've never met anyone whose prime motivation was trying to screw rural folks. Certainly there are some people that are quite out of touch, but I think their heart is mostly in the right place.

In actual fact I've met many farmers, loggers, and even a friend in the petroleum industry that all take climate change very seriously.

Once you move away from partisanship, I think you'll find there's a lot of support for this even in places you wouldn't expect it.

Maybe the Greens who only hold three seats in urban/suburban Vancouver Island, but the NDP hold several seats in rural, interior BC and they're more supportive of BC's traditional resource economy.

Being far from everything is going to be a niche activity in the future. Most people will gather into settlements that are compact enough and large enough and few enough to be interconnected by electric rail.

That said, I prefer a carbon tax which allows each individual to make their own choices of how to spend their carbon budget. Perhaps you'd like to spend your carbon budget on driving all over BC, while I'd like to spend mine on eating beef or whatever.

Yeah, and how are people in the rural areas of BC going to be doing if we don't hit zero emissions by 2050?

We need to be treating that as a hard limit. And yes, that means sacrifices, behavioral changes, and - probably - a drop in standard of living. Or at the very least, life that looks pretty different than it does now.

But the alternative is the natural world collapsing out from under us and society coming apart at the seams as a result.

I can't imagine there won't be exception for Northern BC, Farm/Industrial Vehicles, etc...

First paragraph says "All light-duty cars and trucks sold in British Columbia would have to be zero-emission by 2040 under legislation tabled Wednesday."

Side note, why do articles about legislation rarely include a link to the actual legislation?

Here it is: https://www.leg.bc.ca/parliamentary-business/legislation-deb...

Because modern news is all about juicy headlines. Facts are boring.

Literally the first line "All light-duty cars and trucks sold in British Columbia would have to be zero-emission by 2040 under legislation tabled Wednesday."

That leaves a lot of room for exceptions. Is a Ford F-350 considered "light duty"? I don't think it would be. Certainly the feller bunchers, ore trucks, and tractors that I'm used to seeing at work around Northern BC wouldn't be considered "light duty".

Do Canadians use the British sense of the word tabled (begin debate) or the American sense (halt debate)?

The way a word means its opposite in different countries is literally a pain in the neck.

Thinking on it, I usually see it used in the British sense in politics, but often the American sense in business.

I try to avoid it; it's even more ambiguous than most Canadian compromises between British and American English.

I'm used to the latter, but I've heard both. Definitely confusing, I try to avoid it now and say "punt" instead. Probably confusing those that aren't familiar with (American) football.

Definitely the former in this case. British Columbia uses a British parliamentary system.

We're a weird bunch. Just because we use the concept of houses doesn't mean that we use the same words in the same way as Britain at all. Especially not if we need to work with Washington state a lot.

I was going to say the same thing. Lower Mainland? That could work.

Price George, BC? Yeah, no.

Yeah, how would an electric car even carry enough energy to heat the cabin long enough to make it to McBride, Chetwynd, or Kitimat? Seems like a major stretch.

I learned recently that the Leaf doesn't have any thermal management - we'll certainly need vehicles that are designed for Northern climates.

But given how popular the Teslas are in Norway, I think there's probably hope. Even if we're just talking about the little cars at first.

Once the batteries have sufficient capacity, you can just devote some of the spare capacity to heating during a trip.

In theory you could also have a dedicated heater than ran on LNG or similar. Might be a "less bad" compromise to enable EVs in such situations until the technology evolves to go full electric.

You realize the BC Government isn't even based in Metro Vancouver right?

The NY state government isn't based in NYC either. That doesn't mean their wealth doesn't buy them outsize influence.

Yeah...tell them that. You'd think they were.

2040 is pretty far away, plenty of time for the techs, markets and infrastructures to mature.

Besides, it's only about new ones. You'll still have 10 good years of second hand cars, probably 20 since anticipation will make people stock on models they think they'll sell well. And of course you'll have the obvious delay that is exceptionally given at the end of every single of those big shifts.

So 2040-60 seems a reasonable target given how important it is for humanity. And a deadline will give incentive to find solutions.

It's more of a rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic target. That is far too late to accomplish anything useful.

Sure. But then again, if 20 years isn't enough time to build charge stations... actually, I'm not finishing that sentence: 20 years is more than enough to build charge stations where they're needed.

I mean, come on: if even Terrace already has three charge point, I'm pretty sure the rest of our province isn't some lame duck unable to build what is needed to meet the needs of the people who live where they live.

I'm sure there will be provisions in place for exceptions

Today's compromise is tomorrow's loophole.

If the IPCC is right, we're all screwed unless we cut global CO2 emissions in half by 2030. So...yes?

Politicians like to create laws and make promises about the distant future which they cannot be held accountable for.

If they would really care they would tax all vehicles except electric and hybrids starting from 2025 and increase the tax every year, so be 2030 no one would buy pure ICE car unless they absolutely have to.

I think the market will take care of that soon enough. At least this legislation makes the long term infrastructure investment a no-brainer.

There's also car industry Jobs to think about, no politician wants to put that at undue risk.

Is there a BC election soon?

Does Canadian provincial government have any power to bind future governments and citizens? Most jurisdictions do not.

This is exaggerated symbolic gesture. Future legislatures will adjust the deadline or reduce the requirements if they see a demand for positive-emission vehicles.

There is not an election soon

The BC government is a coalition between the NDP and Green Party. This is the NDP throwing the Greens a bone for supporting them on other legislation

Zero emission sounds nice, but Alberta next door gets its power largely from coal. Just because it isn't coming out of a car doesn't mean its zero emissions

"Alberta next door gets its power largely from coal"

If the government is to be believed, not by 2030 they won't: https://www.alberta.ca/climate-coal-electricity.aspx

We'll see what happens after the election, but the current government literally paid billions of dollars in order to EOL those coal plants by 2030, ahead of schedule. So the previous commenter isn't giving the whole story.

Election day is... Next week? Its so hard to predict things with popular political parties taking opposite stances on matters.

I was under the impression that Alberta and BC's energy consumption was quite interdependent. [1]

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alberta_electricity_policy#Sup...

Still much better as pollution would be more concentrated in the plants area, while leaving cleaner air in the cities. Also most countries are shifting from coal, so the situation will probably be better also for Alberta by 2040.

Also, and I'm loath to even say this, but a coal plant + EVs are still more efficient than burning gas in a million questionably maintained internal combustion engines.

Yes, "zero" may be misleading, but displacing the emissions away from human settlement is a good thing for human health. And I assume that coal is on its way out, certainly in the 2040 timescale at least?

Coal may be out in places like Canada by 2040 assuming great advances in technology, cost & major climate disruptions. However, it is very unlikely to be out for countries in Africa and Asia that are seeing tremendous increases in energy consumption that cannot be covered by other means of energy capture due to a variety of reasons.

EV & hydrogen both make the fleet fuel-agnostic. Coal today, yes. But ten years from now, it could be anything, and the cars won't care.

It's just one of many bottlenecks. You can't fix them all at the same time, unfortunately, gotta at least start somewhere.

the article was talking about B.C.

Why are you talking about Alberta?

BC is powered with Hydro.

Governments have tremendous purchasing power that they can use to push for better technology. Why write empty laws like this when they can instead hand down a directive that all BC government fleet purchases starting in 2020 be zero emission.

2030 should be totally doable. 2040 is so lax it's almost a joke. And there are ten years in between those two numbers. Hard to see why they pushed it out so far.

To be fair they had milestones in between now and 2040.

I'm wondering where the province is going to get electricity to charge all those cars. Solar? -- In BC?? Wind? Hey look at that thing on the Grouse Mountain. Surely they are not building a nuclear plant, are they?

Sounds like the BC wants to have their cake and eat it too. By 2040, most cars and trucks will be zero emissions. So, this law doesn't so much speed up good behavior but just pushes out the stragglers.

Way too late :(

And just like Canada abandoned the Montreal (IIRC) goals just before they were due to take effect and destroy the economy, this law has no force or power until it actually goes into effect, starting 6 years from now.

Tldr : it's meaningless virtue signaling.

You want to clean up the planet? Start with the ten most polluted rivers, all in India or China, and the lead smelting industry which was forced to close in the US and then, predictably, moved to China...

I'm sorry the non-sustainability of your lifestyle puts the world at risk.

We detached this subthread from https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19646040 and marked it off-topic.

The "non-sustainable" non-urban lifestyles are essential for our society. How else do you expect to get food, minerals, lumber, hydro electricity (heh), and so on.

By all means, price in the externalities, use a carbon tax or something. But the idea that we shouldn't go to the middle of nowhere because it requires a CO2 emitting vehicle is ridiculous.

Unless you’re a subsistence farmer in Bangladesh, your lifestyle is unsustainable. The average Canadian or American produces 15-20 tons of CO2 annually. Even assuming electric generation is CO2-free, buying a Tesla instead of driving your current car another 7 years will put out 11-16 tons of CO2 per year. Ditching the car might get it down to 10-13, but only if you don’t replace that with Uber, food delivery, etc. In the Netherlands, a country of dense walkable and bikeable cities, the average person puts out 10 tons of CO2 annually.

You know what really cuts emissions? Poverty. The average Bangladeshi puts out just 0.5 tons of carbon Per Capita.

EDIT: Apparently BC is mostly powered by renewables. Edited math above to subtract CO2 from producing electricity, but add in cost of producing new car.

> In a place like Canada, where electricity primarily comes from natural gas,

Come on, you don't just get to make up your own facts on the spot:)


> Total electricity generation in Canada in 2016 was 648 terawatt hours. Hydro has the highest share of generation at 59%, followed by nuclear at 15%, coal at 9%, gas/oil/others at 10% and non-hydro renewables at 7%.

Most Canadians get their electricity from Hydro and Nuclear. Ontario and Quebec. With Wind up there too. In BC, the majority of its supply is renewable too. So there is 75% of the Canadian population.

The other provinces vary, but make up a minority.

Industrial carbon sequestration costs about $150/ton, so that's ~$3,000 to fully eliminate your carbon footprint. Yes, that's substantial, but it's also not like we would have to got to a subsistence farming standard of living in order to stop contributing to climate change.

(Offsets via getting others to stop emitting carbon, like methane capture on farms, are a lot cheaper but harder to be sure of the counterfactual impact.)

Just adding on to this, some math:

The US emits about 11 gigatonnes of CO2 per year. At $150/ton, sequestering it all would cost 1.65 trillion dollars or about 8.25% of GDP.

That's about what we spend on social security and the military combined.

So, it's a lot. But it's possible to imagine doing it.

I kinda wish there was a company with a bunch of sequestration equipment out somewhere that people could just give money to in order to suck out more CO2 from the air. Why doesn't this exist yet?

Er, I screwed that up.

China emits 11 gigatonnes. The US emits ~half that. So more like 800 billion or 4% of GDP. About what we spend on Medicare.

Of course, even if US emissions went to zero, it wouldn't be enough to stop global warming. So there's that.

The average french person emits 4.57 metrics tons per capita (and there is diesel cars everywhere). One could argue they live better lives than most people in the US, and it's definitely not poverty.

You’re right. But I support legislation that aims to remedy that.

The way your comment came out made it sound like you don't know how the world works and that you would jump into supporting legislation that can have strong negative unintended circumstances (e.g. Farmers and miners in BC lose their jobs because they are not competitive due to the legislation you supported).

That does not mean you shouldn't look for legislation and solutions to ameliorate the issue, it just means that if you haven't done it already, you will need to think a lot harder with regards to the consequences.

What are you suggesting, that everyone north of Prince George move to Surrey?

Now, they should just stop existing. Because “the world” is apparently at risk. As philosopher Carlin once said: “the planet is fine...”

Even if you're fine with human civilization dying, this reasoning isn't right. It is possible that some processes could be started that cause positive feedback loops that eventually do hurt the planet as a whole, and Earth could eventually look like Mars. If you include the biosphere in your definition of the planet, it is already very much hurting. Think of overfishing, the species we've led to extinction, places where people have caused desertification, and so on.

Yes, the rocks will still be here. I don't think that means the planet is fine.

Human civilization will not being dieing if the small province of BC does not quit using gas for a few more years. BC is doing well with our greenhouse gas emissions. We can and will do better but we are a very small part of the problem, quit being dramatic.

The Carlin skit was not limited to British Columbia.

It's likely that your lifestyle requires mineral extraction workers to live in BumPhuck, B. C., along with those that support them. They're not necessarily living out there just for the wide open spaces, that's where the valuable rocks live. We all play our part, and we're in this together.


Even if it were less efficient currently, I think energy production will quickly snap over to renewables quickly once it becomes economically advantageous. Cars and trucks will have to be gradually phased out over a 10-20+ year period so getting a head start on this would probably pay out in the long term

An analogy: Server farms are far more efficient than doing the same workload on laptops scattered around the countryside. Centralized energy production and pollution control is likewise more efficient.

the USA was pointed to do this under the Obama Administration; only speculation here, but perhaps the Volkswagon emissions scandal was influenced by this insider fight, as well

getting quick downvotes on this -- maybe mistaken for a partisan statement. This comment is not taking sides, only pointing out that a massive "sea change" in auto regulations was in the making, for years, but never in the public view, and perhaps it was substantial enough to change the course of the Presidential Election

ok! I provide factual evidence (below) and still get downvotes ! the mere mention of 'sea-change' auto regulations, makes the messenger the target..? curiously non-sensical amongst such a tech crowd

> Please don't comment about the voting on comments. It never does any good, and it makes boring reading.


Could you please point me to the massive “sea change” in auto regulations?

In BC today you can still run out of GAS very easily. I've done so in Alberta. At 2am. In February. I almost died.

...what? How is running out of gas in Alberta, a different province, related to running out of gas in BC?

You can't find a similarity between Alberta and BC?

How is that related to asking someone what they mean by "it's easy to run out of gas in BC" and then giving an anecdote about running out of gas in AB instead? Without further details, it says nothing about BC (it also says nothing about AB, but that's not the province the news article is about).

Look at a map, bro. Do you know anything at all about Canada? Seriously.

British Columbia is a million square kilometres for 5 million people. 3 million of whom live in urban areas along the 49th parallel. This is to say that BC is a vast, rugged, rural land. Running out of gas is easy to do and quite deadly.

The political parties in charge want to give well-off urbanites $5000+ each for premium vehicles. Vehicles incapable of functioning in the majority of the province. Somehow a few rich Canadians no longer filling up at the pump will halt climate change for the world.

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