In late May Jason Kenney and the Alberta United Conservative Party removed the Alberta Carbon Tax. I was more heart broken about it than I would like to admit because I care about the environment and because I care about Albertans.
In Alberta the cornerstone of our economy is the oil and gas industry and it has been for generations. However, we also have the heaviest oil in the world which means our oil has high sulfur content (a bad thing) and takes a ton of processing to get to the point where it can be sold to most markets (an expensive, high GHG emitting thing). That means, as the rest of the word reduces its GHG emissions and uses less oil, Albertan oil will be the first to be left behind.
The 2016 Carbon tax was used to support growth of the technology industry in Alberta, increase public transportation, and reduce energy consumption across the province…among many other things. 70% of Albertans were given a rebates and returns to help with the cost of the carbon tax. Before, the implantation of the 2016 carbon tax, from 2007 onward there was a large emitters carbon tax that was used to fund low carbon technology. Now all we have is a federal carbon tax, that does not significantly simulate and diversify our economy. This puts Albertans at a larger risk.
We can choose to use what we have in a way that builds towards a strong future, and long term, dynamic prosperity within the province. Or we can deny our changing world and energy market, and face the repercussions of having expensive, high emission, heavy oil.
The government has a large impact on the prosperity, health and environmental stewardship of the province, and more largely the nation. For that reason, and in lieu of the upcoming federal election…I am going to take some time to look at how a few of the Canadian parties are talking about the environment and climate change.
Most of this information is taken from a website made by young Canadians to track each political parties commitment to the environment: I looked at emissions and community sections. But there are many more components to read more about on the page.
I encourage you to think about climate change policy when you are considering what party to vote for this year. The actions of government matter.
Strategy for lowing emissions to attempt to meet Paris targets:
· Implemented a federal carbon tax for all provinces that do not have a sufficient provincial carbon pricing provision
· Creation of the Low Carbon Economy Trust which will be endowed with $2 billion in order to fund carbon emission reducing projects
· Supports the creation of green retrofit programs for homes and buildings
· Will invest in energy efficient social housing, and in improving energy efficiency in existing buildings
· Will phase out hydro-fluorocarbons used in refrigerators and air conditioning systems
· Provide support for rural communities with the goal to reduce diesel reliance
· Recognizes that coastal, northern and Indigenous communities are particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change
· Supporting Indigenous communities as they improve the energy efficiency of the homes and buildings
· Supports Project Learning Tree Canada that helps youth gain work experience in forestry and conservation sectors
· Announced $22 million funding to help businesses get clean technology and climate solutions to market
Research & Resources:
· Financially supports research initiatives aiming to improve insulation and increase energy efficiency
· Supports the Polar Environment Atmospheric Research Lab in the Arctic
· Financially supports education resources on climate change for schools and Indigenous communities
· Supports the development of an online portal of scientific data so municipalities can integrate climate data into policy
· Scrap the carbon tax implemented in 2019 as well as getting rid of new standards which force the use of cleaner-burning fuels
· Introduce a system where major GHG emitters will have an emissions cap of 40Mt, which if exceeded, will have to pay into a green investment fund
· Invest $250 million in a private sector “green technology and innovation fund,” combining public and private funds to support new green companies
· Plan on reducing Canadas emissions by 101Mt by 2030 through clean-tech investments
· $900 million per year green home tax credit (GHTC) to help people pay for clean tech in their homes
· Homeowners will be eligible for 20% tax credits up to $2850 yearly for home energy efficiency retrofits
· Establish a voluntary net-zero ready building standard; encourage greater use of wood and low-carbon cement in construction
· Help incorporate traditional knowledge into efforts to address impacts of climate change.
· Work with Indigenous peoples to on emission mitigation and green technology adaptation projects.
· Create a single online hub for green tech companies to find employees and resources from public and private sectors
Research & Resources:
· Plans to implement lower tax rates on made-in-Canada climate-friendly inventions to support research and development
· Continue carbon pricing, including rebates to households, while reducing breaks given to big polluters
· Create Climate Bank to help municipalities adapt waste/recycling programs and invest in the tech to help transition away from plastics
· Wants to integrate human health into Canada's climate commitment
· All federal buildings and all new buildings will be net carbon neutral by 2030, and there will be large scale retrofits for all existing buildings
· Retrofitting all houses in Canada by 2050, with half of retrofits completed by 2030 via access to low-interest loans repayable through energy savings
· Provide support for retrofits for low-income Canadians, Indigenous communities and local municipalities for retrofitting buildings
· Partner with Indigenous and northern communities to move off diesel with renewable micro-grids & transmission connections
· Invest $350 million to support Indigenous rights, environmental protection efforts and control over their own territory
· Ensure First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples are partners in federal climate change mitigation efforts and are involved in decision-making
· Create a framework enshrining Community Benefits Agreements in infrastructure projects allowing communities to define what they need
· Invest $2.5 billion to create at least 300,000 jobs, in 4 years, helping communities adapt to climate change and reduce emissions
· Plan to transition Alberta oil and gas workers to the new renewable energy source economy
Introduce revenue neutral taxes through a carbon fee and dividend system and carbon tariffs on countries with lower carbon tax rates
· Will be retrofitting every building in Canada – residential, commercial, and institutional – to be carbon neutral by 2030
Research & Resources:
· Restore funding of climate research for Canadian government and universities
· Fund “Green Cities” initiatives to reduce GHG emissions, conserve electricity and water as well as expand public and alternative transit solutions
· Replace the CSIF with Municipal super-funds of $500 million/fund/year to which municipalities can apply to support “Green City” initiatives
· Form partnerships with Indigenous peoples and will provide economic opportunities to increase renewable energy use on their lands
· Supports all 10 recommendations made by the Force of Just Transition for Coal Power Workers and Communities.
· The just transition plan includes harnessing transferable skills of oil and gas workers through investments into retraining, apprenticeships, and pension bridging programs
· Creation of 4 million jobs for tradespeople through retrofitting buildings
If you want to hear me chat more about federal politics + climate change. Check out CBC’s the House on August 31st 9am!