Notley’s Plan Caps Emissions from Tar Sands

23 11 2015

Today in Edmonton, we stood with Alberta’s Premier Rachel Notley as she announced a bold new plan on climate change. Alberta not just committing to a low carbon economy, it is charting a new legislative pathway to limit carbon pollution and accelerate the transition to a renewable energy economy. This is a victory for all the people and communities that have raised concerns about the tar sands so many times, in so many ways.

The plan does four things: 

A Carbon
                            PriceThe plan calls for an economy-wide carbon tax of $30/ton. This is now the strongest carbon price in North America.


Capping
                            Emissions from Tar SandsThe plan puts a cap on carbon pollution from the tar sands. Emissions will be capped at 100 Megatonnes of CO2 per year, which means under current technology there will be no expansion of the tar sands beyond what is currently being built.


Phase Out CoalThe plan would phase out coal-fired electricity by 2030.


Shift to
                            RenewablesThe plan includes a commitment to get to 30% renewable energy for the province by 2030.


With this plan implemented, three million barrels of oil a day that would have burned will now stay in the ground — that is something Canadians can be proud of.

We applaud this plan because it controls dangerous carbon pollution and accelerates the transition to a clean energy economy. But, as we know, the “details” of these agreements sometimes leave something to be desired, and this agreement is no different. In an ideal world we should be capping emissions now and declining as soon as possible. But this limit sends a signal that Alberta and the oil industry recognize that unrestrained growth is not an option in the climate era. With this, we have assurance that the industry is no longer on a track to double or triple emissions as it had been.

While this plan stops the runaway development of the Tar Sands, it is not clear what it means for pipelines. What we do know is that today’s announcement means Canada’s plans for new infrastructure need to be re-visited and that our new federal government has promised to strengthen the environmental assessment process. This new assessment process will bring back the environmental laws that were struck down by the Harper government and will GHG emissions. We will be part of those processes ensuring that all issues like community safety and the for potential tankers in our harbour are dealt with before any decisions are made.

The bottom line is that now we hit the road to the Paris climate negotiations as the one of the only oil-producing regions on Earth with a strong, creative plan in place to cap expansion of an oil reserve and raise the price on carbon pollution. I cannot overstate how important this will be at the negotiations.

I see pieces of so much of our, and your, and our allies work in this agreement, and, while we may not have gotten everything we wanted, this is a strong step in the right direction. We will continue to work with you and for you to make sure Alberta makes good on its promises and together we will move the rest of Canada and the world towards a climate safe future.

With hope,

Karen Mahon
ForestEthics Advocacy

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