A very good dayPembina Institute Executive Director Ed Whittingham at Alberta's Climate Leadership announcement

Blog - Nov. 23, 2015 - By Ed Whittingham

Alberta Public Affairs

Sunday was one of the most exciting days I have enjoyed in my years at the Pembina Institute. My colleagues and I took part in the Alberta government’s announcement of its Climate Leadership Plan — a robust and comprehensive approach to ensuring that Alberta does its fair share to tackle climate change. The day has been a long time coming for us at the Pembina Institute, representing years of work and a confirmation of our long held conviction that effective climate action in major energy producing jurisdictions like Alberta is achievable.

I want to share with you the remarks I made in front of hundreds of people at Edmonton’s Telus World of Science. You can also see video of the Climate Change Plan Announcement. My comments start at the 25:24 mark of the video but I encourage you to take 30 minutes and listen to the whole event.

We’re really building momentum in the lead up to the Paris climate summit!


Remarks at the Alberta Climate Change Announcement

“Premier, Minister… first off, congratulations and thank you for asking the Pembina Institute and my colleagues from the environmental movement to be a part of this historic day here in Alberta.

I wanted to say a special shout-out to the young people I see seated right in front of the stage here. A big part of what we’ve done and the work that led up to today was for you.

Back in the spring, Premier Notley, you promised Albertans leadership on the issue of climate change. Six months later, you, Minister Phillips and your government have delivered. Today Alberta takes its rightful place as a leader on the world stage.

Your made-in-Alberta Climate Leadership Plan positions our province to be a global leader on climate change. Phasing out coal-fired electricity and ensuring renewable electricity is a big part of replacement generation is perhaps the most important thing the world can do to avoid dangerous climate change. Your plan does that with its 2030 goal, while providing for the transition of our province’s coal workers and their home communities, and ensuring stability of prices to consumers and businesses. And let’s not forget, eliminating air pollution is important for our health — everyone’s health.

The Climate Leadership Plan also puts a meaningful, economy-wide price on carbon, giving all Albertans the incentive to reduce their household emissions. This is one of the most effective ways of reducing greenhouse gas pollution that causes climate change. The revenue we generate will allow us to invest in green infrastructure, public transit, energy efficiency, and clean energy R&D — all the things we need to do our fair share and stay globally competitive as the world transitions to a low carbon future.

Your plan will also strengthen the competitive position of Alberta’s oil and gas companies, through a polluter-pays system that stimulates innovation and creates a global centre for low carbon technology. The oilsands emissions limit will give the world certainty that our emissions will not grow unchecked. It’s a game changer, and will shift the debate about the oilsands industry doing its part to address climate change.

In short, the Climate Leadership Plan is robust, comprehensive and the right thing to do for our environment, our economy, our health, and the long-term prosperity of all Albertans. The fact that we have environmental leaders and industry executives together on stage — these unlikely allies — shows its power, especially in light of the level of conflict we’ve seen over the last several years around Alberta’s oilsands.

Premier Notley, you have the support of those of us here on the stage today. We’ll keep our sleeves rolled up, knowing that there is still hard work ahead. The world needs more of this kind of leadership from major energy producing jurisdictions if we are to avoid dangerous climate change while growing our economies.

On behalf of all of us, thank you Premier for your bold leadership.”

Ed Whittingham

Ed is the Executive Director of the Pembina Institute. He has served in an advisory capacity to companies, industry associations, government bodies and research networks on sustainable energy solutions.


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