Friday, June 26, 2015

Alberta’s New Climate Plan Seen as a Meaningful First Step

The new government is taking two important first steps in its commitment to take leadership on climate change with a goal to make at least a preliminary proposal in time for the COP21 world summit in Paris at the end of the year.

Shell's Jackpine oil sands mine (Credit: Julia Kilpatrick, Pembina Institute) Click to Enlarge.
The newly elected government in the Canadian province of Alberta announced what it called "important first steps" to rein in the province’s growing emissions of greenhouse gases. It vowed to tighten its existing regulations, raise its carbon price modestly, and promised new rules governing the oil and gas sector.

But it appears that the new approach, like the old one that was about to expire, would allow carbon dioxide emissions from Alberta’s gigantic tar sands operations to keep rising, at least for the time being.

Tar sands emissions are the main reason for Canada’s failure to achieve its past promises to reduce overall greenhouse gas emissions.

Scientists have said that tar sands are so dirty that almost all reserves ought to be left in the ground if the world is going to stay within a carbon budget keeping global warming within relatively safe limits.

Once Alberta’s new rules are phased in, tar sands oil producers (and other large industrial polluters) would have to cut their per-barrel emissions of carbon dioxide by 20 percent or pay a fine of $30 on each ton of excess carbon dioxide.
Even so, environmental critics of the tar sands industry said Alberta’s new approach is not ambitious enough, but is aimed in the right direction.

Read more at Alberta’s New Climate Plan Seen as a Meaningful First Step

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