New report from Environmental Defence shows that Alberta’s carbon levy is consistent with a strong economy

The carbon levy is funding popular energy efficiency programs and needed infrastructure

Edmonton, Alta., – As the second anniversary of Alberta’s carbon levy approaches, a new report from Environmental Defence finds that many key economic indicators have improved since the levy was introduced. And while it’s too early to say how the carbon levy has impacted greenhouse gas emissions, the revenue raised is supporting energy efficiency programs that hundreds of thousands of Albertans are accessing, as well as funding critical infrastructure such as Calgary’s light rail transit.

“A lot of things have been said about Alberta’s carbon levy, but much of it has not been based in fact. That’s why we produced this report. We wanted to know if there’s any evidence the levy has hurt Alberta’s economy and to shine a light on how the money raised from the levy is being used,” says Joshua Buck, Alberta Program Manager at Environmental Defence. “All indications are that the carbon levy is working as intended. Alberta had the fastest growing economy in Canada for 2017. Over 60 percent of Albertans received a rebate larger than the direct costs due to the carbon levy and more than 150,000 households utilized energy efficiency programs that will collectively save them over $200 million off their energy bills. Despite all of this evidence, there are still people calling the carbon levy damaging for Albertans, but the facts just do not support those statements.”

The report looks at key economic indicators such as weekly earnings, consumer spending, consumer price index, and gross domestic product (GDP) to see how Alberta’s economy performed in 2017. It finds that the carbon levy has had little impact on the economy. All of these economic indicators improved during 2017, the first year the levy was in effect. The report also looks at the projects and programs funded by the levy and finds that a significant number of Albertans and municipalities are using these programs: solar installations grew by 500 per cent; Albertans are now saving 700,000 gigajoules of energy annually; and 20,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution will be prevented.

The report also looks at the key planks of the Climate Leadership Plan, as the entire plan works together in order to reduce Alberta’s GHG pollution. While progress has been made on multiple fronts, there is still much to be done to implement key elements of the plan and drive further reductions in Alberta’s GHG emissions.

“The carbon levy raised over $1 billion that was spent on rebates and popular energy efficiency programs in 2017. The funds from the levy are helping Albertans lower their energy consumption and save money, all while the levy is having virtually no impact on the economy. The carbon levy should be recognized as a success. While the Alberta government still needs to complete the missing pieces of its Climate Leadership Plan, including methane regulations and the 100 MT hard cap regulations, the plan is off to a solid start,” adds Joshua Buck.

Read the report Carbon Pricing in Alberta: a Review of its Successes and Impacts here.

About ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENCE (www.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: Allen Braude, Environmental Defence; 416-356-2587; abraude@environmentaldefence.ca