Alberta’s New Climate Change Discussion Paper

Climate Leadership Discussion Document
Province of Alberta, Ministry of Environment and Parks

[Calgary Herald] Here are five key points from the report:

The NDP government wants to make an argument for action

The first line of the report, from Environment Minister Shannon Phillips’ introduction, declares: “Climate change is one of the greatest challenges to ever face our planet, our society and our economy.” And further, “doing more of the same would be the worst thing we could do.”

Greenhouse gas emissions are a growing concern in Alberta

Emissions grew by 75 per cent between 1990 and 2013, when they reached 122 megatonnes. They are projected to increase to 145 megatonnes by 2020, and rise to 174 megatonnes by 2030. The province is responsible for about a third of Canada’s emissions.

The rise of the oil sands is a major contributor

In 1990, oil and gas was responsible for nearly 40 per cent of Alberta’s emissions. By 2030, that amount is projected to grow to 53 per cent. On the other hand, electrical generation (mainly coal-fired plants) used to make up well over half of the province’s emissions. But it’s been on the decline and is expected to drop to 10 per cent by 2030.

It’s not all about the oil sands

“Action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions goes far beyond the most talked-about industries,” writes Leach. “All Albertans must be part of the solution.”

Different options are on the table

The paper says carbon pricing, such as a carbon tax or cap-and-trade system, “when applied broadly to emissions across the economy, allows for the most cost-effective emissions reductions.” Alberta’s current levy on large industrial emitters is a “hybrid” of carbon pricing and a regulatory approach, it says, but notes the levy would have to be ramped up considerably to actually reduce emissions.


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