Pembina Reacts: Government of Alberta report on industrial greenhouse gas pollution

May 3, 2011

The Pembina Institute's Chris Severson-Baker made the following statement in response to today's release of the Alberta government's report of 2010 compliance with its greenhouse gas regulation for heavy industry:

"Today's release by the Government of Alberta continues a four-year trend of significantly overstating the scale of greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution reductions that Alberta's industry regulation has really delivered. Albertans should not be assured that the province is on track to achieving its own pollution reduction target, despite Alberta's $2 billion commitment to carbon capture and storage.

"The government's claim that it requires mandatory GHG reductions from industrial polluters is misleading. In reality, Alberta's regulations don't require companies to cut their emissions at all in order to comply. Instead, Alberta allows polluters to pay $15 per tonne of greenhouse gas emissions into a fund.

"This year, only a fraction of compliance with Alberta's regulation came from companies actually improving environmental performance in their facilities. (In fact, 2010 saw the lowest level of facility improvements to meet the regulation's goals since the rules came into effect.) Instead, paying into a fund was the most popular choice for companies in 2010, allowing them to emit 4.7 million tonnes of greenhouse gas pollution — the equivalent of adding over 900,000 cars to the road for one year.

"Alberta's government is overreaching by suggesting that it is achieving clean, responsible energy production. Given the scrutiny that sectors like the oilsands are currently under, this approach is unlikely to help restore Alberta's international reputation."



Chris Severson-Baker
Managing Director, Pembina Institute
Cell: 403-899-7423
Phone: 403-269-3344 ext 101


1 An August 2009 analysis by the Pembina Institute, which can be found in Appendix 2 of this publication, concluded that Alberta's carbon offset system is insufficient, and therefore most of the 3.86 Mt of "carbon offsets" do not likely correspond to reductions that go beyond business-as-usual.

The Pembina Institute does not believe that "emission performance credits" should be counted as reductions because emitters can use them to pollute more in future years.

The analytical concerns raised by the Pembina Institute in response to the Government of Alberta's 2009 GHG pollution figures, available here, have not been addressed and apply equally to the 2010 figures.

The Pembina Institute and Toxic Watch Society's analysis and recommendations regarding the Government of Alberta's implementation of the Climate Change and Emissions Management Fund can be downloaded here.


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