Alberta Party Opposition Leader Greg Clark has released his Climate Change plan as an alternative to the forthcoming government Climate Change document.
“As opposition our job is not just to oppose, but to propose,” said Clark. “Albertans expect us to propose clear alternatives to government policy and I challenge my opposition colleagues to release their climate plans, not just complain about what the government might do.”
Clark said this is how he intends to approach his role in opposition.
“This is something we did with our shadow budget, and it is something we will continue to do,” said Clark. “We are still the only opposition party to talk in detail about how we would govern. I expect the other opposition parties to do the same.”
Alberta’s Contribution: The Alberta Party Caucus Climate Change Plan reflects the fact that Albertans want action on climate change, and acknowledges we must all do our part.
We believe much of our province’s contribution comes from innovation that improves energy efficiency, reduces carbon emissions, improves land reclamation, reduces the use of fresh water and transforms our electricity grid. We will do this by taking advantage of Alberta’s greatest natural resource; the entrepreneurial spirit of our people. It is entrepreneurs both inside and outside energy companies who will create the technologies that will help the world address climate change.
The following are the highlights of Alberta’s Contribution.
1. Clearly articulate support for continued growth of Alberta’s energy sector, including the oil sands
Communicate Alberta’s desire to contribute to global carbon reduction by becoming a hub for energy technological innovation, including partnerships between industry, government and post-secondary
Unapologetically promote Alberta’s emissions reduction successes to date and expected improvements based on our ambitious climate policies; the government must target this promotion to gain market access for Alberta’s energy products
2. Price carbon for large emitters, implement a revenue-neutral consumer carbon tax
Create “SGER 2.0”, gradually increasing carbon pricing over time and gradually lowering the emissions threshold; this price must be high enough to incent companies to implement carbon-reducing technology but not so high that it does not leave companies with the capital required to economically implement these technologies, and the capacity to compete in global export markets
Target oil sands emissions to peak in 2025
Implement a $10/t carbon tax applied to all consumption, excluding large emitters
Offset carbon tax revenue with reductions in personal and corporate taxes, support consumer-based renewables projects like rooftop solar
3. Create a world-leading R&D hub for carbon reduction, water use and reclamation projects
The government reaffirm its commitment to CCEMC so it can continue the important role of funding technology, innovation and commercialization of GHG reduction projects in Alberta
Create a “living lab” using Alberta carbon sources and other industrial facilities to test innovative ideas for emissions reduction, reclamation etc.
Include a test bed for the Carbon xPrize as part of the living lab
4. Tap into Alberta’s entrepreneurial spirit through innovation tax credits, own-plant offsets
Create a Green Innovation Tax Credit targeted at investments in new technologies that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions; start-ups and existing companies would be eligible for the tax credit
Use consumer carbon tax to reduce personal and business taxes to return Alberta’s competitive advantage and encourage entrepreneurship of all kinds
5. Explore opportunities to align Alberta’s plan with other provinces
Allocate a portion of offsets eligible to be purchased from out of province, gradually increasing over time
Ensure offsets are net-new; the policy must guard against creation of a new transfer payment system where provinces with low-carbon industries like hydroelectric production receive a disproportionate amount of Alberta carbon dollars without significant new carbon reductions
6. Significantly reduce emissions from electricity generation
Retire 85% of Alberta’s coal-fired power within 10 years, ‘dial down’ emissions on two remaining plants over their remaining useful life
Use Alberta’s deregulated electricity market to ‘dial up’ renewables through a Renewable Portfolio Standard which requires 20% of Alberta’s generation to come from renewable sources by 2020, 25% by 2025 and 30% by 2030
Ramp up natural gas as source of flexible power generation to compliment renewables
7. Energy Efficiency
Expand the energy retrofit program announced in Budget 2015 to a total of $50 million, funded from CCEMC
Provide support for micro-generation (i.e. rooftop solar), ensure regulations support consumers selling production into the grid