Toronto, ON – Today’s announcement from Alberta will not lead to an adequate system for pricing carbon. Alberta will need to go much further if it hopes to tackle the critical issue of cutting its carbon pollution.
The Alberta government has said it is serious about creating a meaningful climate strategy, and has created a new panel to provide advice. To be successful, it will need to create a new policy that will reduce Alberta’s total carbon pollution by putting an effective price on carbon.
Alberta’s Specified Gas Emitters Regulation (SGER) merely encourages oil companies to reduce pollution intensity from each barrel produced. However, as oil production continues to expand, Alberta’s absolute emissions have continued to grow. Putting a very low price on a very small share of emissions has been ineffective in reducing emissions. Today’s announcement to double the cost and increase the coverage doesn’t go nearly far enough.
It is widely accepted that Alberta’s weak SGER policy has failed. It will not lead to meaningful absolute emissions reductions, and it will not put Alberta on a path to leadership in cutting carbon pollution. However, we hope that extending SGER temporarily will give the province the time it needs to create a new and better plan.    
Alberta needs only to look west to its neighbour B.C. for an example of how to do this better. B.C.’s carbon tax demonstrates that putting a meaningful price on carbon can effectively reduce emissions while allowing an economy to grow.
Alberta’s new government has a golden opportunity to take bold action on a critical issue in advance of the Paris climate talks taking place late this year. We look forward to working with Alberta to get it right.
About ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENCE (environmentaldefence.ca): Environmental Defence is Canada’s most effective environmental action organization. We challenge, and inspire change in government, business and people to ensure a greener, healthier and prosperous life for all.
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For more information or to arrange an interview please contact:
Naomi Carniol, Environmental Defence, 416-323-9521 ext 258; 570-2878 (cell); ncarniol@environmentaldefence.ca