During the recent news conference announcing approval of the Trans Mountain Expansion project, Prime Minister Trudeau praised the Alberta Climate Leadership Plan, but has he actually read the plan?
The plan talks of capping Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions from the tar sands at 100Mt per year (which is a 43 per cent increase over the current emissions, so not something to be proud of), and fails to identify an overall GHG emission target for the province.
However the report from the Climate Change Advisory Panel, on which the Alberta plan is based, forecasts, in the most optimistic scenario, a 2030 GHG emissions level of 238Mt per year, a two per cent increase over Alberta’s 2005 emissions. The Canadian national target is a 30 per cent reduction, and B.C.’s proposed contribution is a 33 per cent reduction (from 2007 levels), yet Alberta calls this a climate leadership plan.
Page 41 of the report states “Many will look at these emissions reductions and claim that our proposed polices will not place Alberta on a trajectory consistent with global 2 degree C goals, and in some sense this is true… However, more stringent policies in Alberta would come at significant cost to the province due to lost competitiveness…” It should come as no surprise that three of the five members of the Alberta panel derive their livelihood directly from the Alberta oil industry.
If Albertans cannot do it themselves, then British Columbians should do all that we can to help Alberta achieve significant GHG emission reductions. One immediate step is to ensure that the Trans Mountain Expansion project never happens, which will limit the market for oil from the tar sands, hence reducing GHG emissions in Alberta and elsewhere.