Alberta Government Climate Change Plan Not Credible

May 21, 2002
Media Release

Drayton Valley and Ottawa — Alberta's draft climate change action plan released today would allow Alberta's greenhouse gas emissions to remain far above their 1990 level for decades to come, while failing to spell out concrete policy measures capable of achieving even the weak targets that the plan sets out, according to the Pembina Institute.

"The Alberta plan has zero credibility as an alternative to the Kyoto Protocol," said Dr. Matthew Bramley, Director, Climate Change at the Pembina Institute. "Kyoto requires emission reductions while this plan would allow emissions to increase. Kyoto is legally binding while there is no way of knowing whether the targets in this plan would actually be met."

According to the Institute's analysis, the government's plan, entitled Albertans & Climate Change: A Plan for Action:

  • would allow Alberta's total greenhouse gas emissions in 2020 to remain 22 to 37 percent higher than their 1990 level. This compares with Canada's commitment under the Kyoto Protocol to reduce net emissions to 6 percent below the 1990 level by 2008-2012;
  • focuses on reducing "emissions intensity"-emissions per dollar of GDP. But emissions intensity often falls while absolute emissions-and environmental impacts-continue to rise. Between 1990 and 1998, Alberta's greenhouse gas emissions intensity fell by 14.5% while its emissions rose by 19%;
  • fails to provide the specific details or funding levels that would allow an evaluation of the effectiveness of key initiatives. Establishing an Office for Energy Efficiency, for example, is laudable, but its effectiveness will depend critically on the level of incentives provided to encourage energy conservation;
  • fails to propose meaningful initiatives to support low-impact renewable energy, such as financial incentives or a "portfolio standard" that would require electricity suppliers to source a percentage of their product from low-impact renewable sources. Thirteen U.S. states have such standards, including Texas;
  • fails to propose any meaningful initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from cars and trucks.

The Pembina Institute is calling on the federal government to ratify the Kyoto Protocol in 2002. "Kyoto is a small first step towards the more than 50% global emissions reductions scientists say we need in the next few decades, and economic modelling studies show that it can be implemented with minimal economic impact," added Bramley.

For more information contact:

Matthew Bramley, Director, Climate Change, 613-262-1818 or 613-235-6288 ext. 26

David Pollock, Executive Director, 780-542-6272 or 780-542-8990 (cell)

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