Only hybrid or electric cars for cabinet as Ottawa aims to cut emissions
by Mia Rabson, The Canadian Press
New government environmental strategy sets a goal of cutting emissions from federal government buildings and vehicles by at least 80 per cent by 2050
OTTAWA—The federal government is going to stop buying internal combustion cars for cabinet ministers starting next year, a new federal environment plan says.
The Greening Government Strategy released Dec. 19 sets a goal to cut emissions from federal government buildings and vehicles by at least 80 per cent compared with 2005 levels by 2050.
The current goal was to reduce emissions 40 per cent below 2005 by 2030, which the government says is on track to happen.
The 15 departments that currently track emissions produced about a million tonnes of greenhouse gas in 2016-17, which is less than one per cent of Canada’s total emissions and approximately the same as what 215,000 passenger cars produce in a single year.
Those 15 departments have already reduced emissions 28 per cent since 2005.
The government is also adding another nine departments to the list that are required to track emissions, focusing on those which own buildings or have at least 50 vehicles. Most other departments not included in the tracking list don’t have many, if any, vehicles, and their buildings are managed by Public Services and Procurement Canada, so their emissions are caught in its tracking.
The strategy aims to start buying only hybrid or fully electric cars for cabinet ministers, deputies and other senior government officials starting in 2018 and, a year, later, aim to ensure only hybrids or electrics are purchased for 75 per cent of the light-duty vehicles used by the rest of the government.
Hybrids and electric cars already make up half the government’s executive fleet of 76 cars, including 33 hybrids and four fully electric. Among the rest of the government fleet, 35 per cent of the 3,510 cars are either zero-emission or hybrids.
The strategy will also require any newly built government buildings to be capable of producing as much energy as they consume by 2022 and any renovations to existing buildings will have to be low-carbon.
New leases will only be signed by the government with improved energy efficiency standards.
As well the government aims to increase recycling and composing, aiming to divert from landfills 75 per cent of non-hazardous waste and 90 per cent of construction and demolition waste.
As well, emissions from employee travel will start being tracked in 2019 with the aim of finding lower-emission alternatives.