Fri. Feb 23rd, 2024

Alberta will not tolerate the cap ;Ottawa's GHG emissions

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Ottawa wants to establish a cap-and-trade system for the oil industry .

The Canadian Press

Alberta and two major business groups have released official responses to a proposed federal emissions cap as the province's environment minister was scheduled to meet with her federal counterpart.

This cap is neither realistic nor effective, will not achieve its grandiose emissions targets and will not be tolerated in Alberta, says the province's official response.

Federal Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault met Monday with Alberta Minister of Environment and Protected Areas Rebecca Schulz .

Guilbeault said Ottawa would impose a 100-megaton cap on emissions from the tar sands, the source of nearly 8 per cent of all Canadian emissions and one of the few sources that continues to rise. .

The minister's plan would grant some flexibility to individual businesses through the purchase of credits.

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Federal Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault believes that a cap on emissions from the oil sector is necessary.

Alberta's concerns were echoed by the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) and the Business Council of Alberta, a big business lobby group.

All three argue that an emissions cap would result in the opposite of the intended objectives.

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There are other existing policies and proposed proposals that will more effectively contribute to Canada's long-term emissions reduction goals, CAPP wrote.

The Business Council of Alberta has declared that these objectives would be better achieved through a consistent and transparent carbon price.

Alberta's official response to Ottawa's proposal says the cap would undermine the work the province has successfully pursued for decades to reduce shows.

It says oil sands production has already exceeded the forecasts used to establish the proposed 100 megatonne limit and that the technology needed to sufficiently reduce emissions does not yet exist.

The document repeats arguments that Ottawa's plan violates the Constitution.

Alberta is one of the few places in North America where greenhouse gas emissions are increasing and is by far Canada's largest emitter. The oil sands recently set a production record and remain among the world's largest carbon-emitting oil producers.

Economists agree that&#x27 ;a production cap may not be the most economically efficient way to achieve Canada's climate goals set by the Paris Agreement.

< p class="StyledBodyHtmlParagraph-sc-48221190-4 hnvfyV">Andrew Leach, an energy economist at the University of Alberta, says targeting the tar sands could mean Canada would lose out on the value of the oil produced. Reducing emissions elsewhere could have the same climate impact at a lower cost – a goal that could be achieved through a large and widespread carbon tax.

In an interview, Andrew Leach said that about 90% of emissions from agriculture are unpriced, even though the industry releases about the same amount of carbon as the tar sands.

We are not going to solve this problem in Canada by attacking a single sector .

A quote from energy economist Andrew Leach

Nevertheless, Leach noted that the argument of Alberta is also not entirely consistent.

He noted that while the province has imposed a carbon price on industrial emissions since 2004, it also opposed measures such as carbon standards on clean fuels and electricity grid regulation.

There is simultaneously a commitment to reducing emissions and opposition to any policies that could reduce emissions, he explained.

He added that Alberta's constitutional argument is weaker than its anti-capping position. Although the Supreme Court recently ruled against two federal environmental initiatives, these decisions do not provide much support for Alberta's argument on the emissions cap.

The court has ruled in the past that Ottawa can regulate greenhouse gases. It's also difficult for Alberta to argue that the federal government has no jurisdiction over anything that disrupts production, Leach said, with pipeline regulations being one example.

In an emailed statement, Steven Guilbeault said: Putting a cap on pollution is essential to the long-term competitiveness of the oil and gas sector in a global economy which progresses towards carbon neutrality by 2050.

We will continue to consult with the sector as we develop our approach. No industry should be allowed to pollute unlimitedly. We hope the Government of Alberta understands how beneficial and essential this policy is to our environment and economy.

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