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article imageAlberta sets aside $1.4 billion to help reduce carbon emissions

By Karen Graham     Dec 6, 2017 in Environment
Calgary - Alberta is setting aside close to $1.4 billion from climate levies to help industry reduce carbon emissions. The government said the funding, spread over seven years, will make it easier for industries to invest in new technologies.
"The business case for action on climate change has never been more clear, more urgent or provided so many opportunities," said Alberta Environment Minister Shannon Phillips at a Calgary press conference Tuesday, reports My McMurray.
“Today’s policy announcement with help grow the modern Alberta economy, put more people back to work, attract more investment dollars, and continue to show the world that low carbon energy is developed and produced right here in Alberta.”
Alberta's oilsands industry will get $400 million to update and upgrade their facilities to meet the new guidelines for large emitters and comes at a time when large global players are backing away from the oilpatch and the U.S. is pushing for big corporate tax cuts, reports the Calgary Herald.
Athabasca oilsands in Alberta  Canada.
Athabasca oilsands in Alberta, Canada.
Howl Arts Collective (CC BY 2.0)
Other industries will be able to apply for $225 million for carbon reduction innovations, including $80 million to Emissions Reduction Alberta and $145 million for the Climate Change Innovation and Technology Framework. Phillips pointed out that industry has provided much of the funds being allocated.
He added that the province’s Climate Leadership Panel recommended that a good portion of the funds be reinvested in reducing industrial emissions. “This is being paid for in large part through the compliance costs our large emitters pay in.”
Alberta Energy Minister Margaret McCuaig-Boyd said the investments are needed to respond to rapidly changing investor expectations. "The world is shifting every day. How it produces and how it consumes energy, and how we reduce emissions. And we need to shift it because we're seeing investors demand credible plans to fight climate change."
The agriculture, manufacturing, and energy sector will have $240 million available for industrial energy efficiency innovations, while another $400 million will be used for loan guarantees for climate reduction programs, as well as reducing the cost and challenges for businesses wanting to fund projects.
Some not happy with new carbon levy
United Conservative Party MLA Don MacIntyre is not buying the NDP government’s stance that the carbon taxes will end up protecting employment and private sector investments. "I’m concerned about jobs, and I’m very concerned about (oilsands) projects being canceled because this government doesn’t consult very well,” MacIntyre said.
MacIntyre said Alberta’s carbon tax and methane emission rules would deliver another hit to the Al...
MacIntyre said Alberta’s carbon tax and methane emission rules would deliver another hit to the Alberta oilpatch as it faces ongoing competitiveness pressures.
United Conservative Party MLA Don MacIntyre
When the province is talking about large emitters, not all of the oil industry will be affected by the carbon levy. The new system of credits will apply to emissions-intensive operations, including oilsands mining, bitumen upgrading, natural gas processing, fertilizer production and pulp processing.
Folks may remember that back in October, a new study was published showing the Canadian oil and gas industry and the federal government was probably underestimating Alberta's emissions of methane, one of the most potent greenhouse gases.
Alberta, Canada's top fossil fuel-producing province, has set a goal of reducing methane emissions 45 percent by 2025—a target the researchers say could be "severely compromised" because the emissions are underestimated by 25 to 50 percent, according to the study's findings.
The Calgary Herald is also reporting an internal government document, leaked to the official Opposition and obtained by Postmedia, suggests the combined effect of the carbon tax on large emitters and pending methane regulations could kill more jobs than phasing out coal.
More about Alberta, climate levies, Carbon emissions, Oilsands, coal industry
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