Alberta’s environmental performance will improve with implementation of the Climate Leadership Plan

Blog - April 22, 2016 - By Andrew Read, Binnu Jeyakumar, Benjamin Israel

Alberta's D- on environmental performance can be turned around as the Climate Leadership Plan is implemented. Photo: Pembina Institute

Yesterday the Conference Board of Canada released a report ranking the environmental performance of Canadian provinces. Alberta’s failing grade (D-) is in line with the approach that previous Alberta governments have taken with environmental management. Nevertheless, Alberta’s new government has moved quickly to address a number of the environmental issues evaluated in the report.

The report looked at 10 different environmental indicators including specific air pollutants, greenhouse gas pollution, waste generation and treatment, water withdrawals and energy intensity.

A closer inspection of these indicators in relation to the government's Climate Leadership Plan should give some hope for improvement. Overall, at least eight of the ten indicators will improve with implementation of the Plan.

Obviously, the raison d'être of the Climate Leadership Plan is reducing greenhouse gas emissions. That metric will clearly see improvement with the implementation of the plan. Improvements will also be seen in energy efficiency and production of low emitting electricity, with the combined efforts of the new energy efficiency program, the coal phase out and a renewable energy production target of 30 per cent by 2030.

Some of these actions will also improve the nitrogen oxide, sulphur oxide, Volatile Organic Compounds and particulate matter indicators. The coal-fired electricity phase out alone will improve three of these indicators. Combined with an effective strategy to reduce methane from oil and gas operations, we anticipate each of these air pollution metrics to improve.

This report confirms the fact that Alberta had to act to address its poor environmental track record.  Ultimately, it also establishes a great baseline from which Alberta’s renewed vigour to improve environmental management can be tracked. As the multiple pieces of the Climate Leadership Plan are implemented in the coming months, tangible improvements in Alberta’s environment will be the result.  We look forward to Alberta moving up from the bottom in Canada’s environmental rankings.


Andrew Read

Andrew Read was a senior analyst with the Pembina Institute until 2017.

Binnu Jeyakumar

Binnu is the director of the Pembina Institute's electricity program. She is based in Calgary.

Benjamin Israel

Benjamin Israël is a senior analyst with the Pembina Institute. He is based in Calgary.


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