The Canadian government has entered into an agreement that will see automakers voluntarily reduce vehicle emissions, though not enough to stem increases in total emissions. While the agreement will see an increase in fuel economy, it will not be enough to reduce total emissions as the number of vehicles on the road will increase. The agreement, designed to help Canada meet targets for the Kyoto protocol, will cut emissions from new vehicles by 5.3 megatons a year by 2010. This would keep greenhouse gas emissions at the present annual rate of 85.2 megatons by 2010 rather than rising to the projected annual rate of 90.5 megatons if nothing is done. To do this, the Canadian auto industry will offer and promote a variety of fuel-saving technologies for new cars and light trucks. Some of these include hybrid powertrains, cylinder deactivation technology and advanced diesel technology. “I’m particularly proud that we’ve reached this historic agreement voluntarily, which clearly shows the automobile industry is prepared to do its part to address climate change,” Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources John Efford said at the signing of the deal in Windsor, Ontario. A joint government and auto group will monitor the annual performance to ensure progress, and if emissions targets are not met, the government could step in to regulate the industry. While the fact that the agreement hinges on voluntary compliance by the auto sector has raised criticism in some sectors, the government has stated that past voluntary agreements on issues such as vehicle safety have been adhered to. “I do support the approach the government is taking with the automotive sector . Legalizing all this could have been a nightmare,” said auto industry analyst Dennis DesRosiers. “Now that the automotive OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) are going to aggressively address greenhouse gas issues with the vehicles consumers buy new, I hope the government will have the strength to address greenhouse gas issues with the vehicles on the road,” DesRosiers said. He added that getting older vehicles off the road or getting consumers to better maintain them would do a lot more to help Canada meet its Kyoto commitments than anything the auto industry can do to help improve emissions. In a good year, Canadians buy about 1.5 million new vehicles. About 19 million cars and light trucks in Canada are operating at less than peak efficiency or have old technology.