Feds announce new emission reduction targets on world stage without consulting Alberta
The Prime Minister introduced new targets, intended to address the climate crisis, during a global climate conference this week that will have a considerable impact to Alberta's oil, gas and coal production.
Trudeau announced new emission reduction targets for the country including putting a price on pollution, setting a pace to achieve net-zero by 2050.
Part of the promise to cap Canada's oil and gas emissions has to do with the country's previously announced commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30 per cent relative to 2005 levels by 2030.
The prime minister also pledged to stop exporting thermal coal over the next decade and Trudeau is pushing for a global price on carbon.
"We put a price on pollution to make sure that polluting isn't free and consumers and businesses have the predictability to be able to make choices and investments that will reduce our emissions," Trudeau said.
Alberta is taking notice.
"I don’t know why they would make an announcement like this without consulting with the province that actually owns the overwhelming majority of Canada’s oil and gas reserves," said Premier Jason Kenney.
The province contributes 38 per cent of the country’s total emissions, most of that from oil and gas.
"There has been cooperation and communication between our governments, but we continue to see -- from the PM and his cabinet -- what appears to be a progressive effort to continue to attack one industry when it comes to climate change management inside our country," Jason Nixon, Alberta's environment minister, told CTV News Tuesday.
"That's very concerning for us. And I want to stress that it should be concerning for Canadians," he said.
Neither Alberta's premier nor any of his cabinet minister plan on attending COP26 in Scotland. However, Nixon said Steve MacDonald, the CEO of Emissions Reduction Alberta, is on his way to the climate conference "to be able to make sure that he can show the world the amazing technology we're using here," the minister said.
The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) is also sending its own delegation to the summit.
"Natural gas and oil are Canada’s largest export products and a foundational pillar of Canada’s economy and innovation capacity supporting approximately 500,000 jobs and representing about $30 billion in annual economic investment," CAPP CEO Tim McMillan said in an emailed statement.
"It will be incredibly important for the federal government and the natural gas and oil industry to work collaboratively to ensure we meet our environmental and social outcomes," he added.
A 100-megatonne emissions cap has already been imposed, although that limit allows for expansion and has never been reached.
Kenney says he's not opposed to capping emissions but he would prefer to see Ottawa invest in technology such as carbon capture underground storage (CCS)
"Instead of just setting targets — targets that Canada has consistently missed — lets actually invest in the technology like CCS," he said.
Alberta did not send representatives to the climate summit also known as COP26.
Targeting coal production, Trudeau announced Canada will stop exporting thermal coal by 2030 as part of a global phase-out initiative.
Canada has already committed to phasing out conventional coal-fired electricity by 2030, with $185 million invested to support workers transition to cleaner energy.
In 2019, Canada produced about 57 million tonnes of coal, 83 per cent of that coming from Alberta and B.C.
The provincial government says it is already acting to reduce emissions.
The UCP government will spend $176 million on 16 projects, many of them already underway to help cut nearly seven million tonnes in emissions by 2030.
The provincial funding comes from the Technology Innovation and Emissions Reduction (TIER).
TIER funding is supported by large industry that pay into a fund when they fail to meet emissions targets.
All funded projects were deemed "shovel-ready" and are being undertaken across different industries, including:
- Capital Power - converting carbon dioxide emissions into carbon nanotubes;
- Canadian Pacific - three diesel locomotives retrofitted to operate on hydrogen; and,
- Calgary Aggregate Recycling - building Canada’s first soil reuse facility.
The province is expected to unveil its new climate policy in the coming weeks.