Alberta’s 2019 election

2019-04-08

in Canada, Economics, Politics, The environment

The election playing out in Alberta seems to have a lot in common with what has been happening with the federal Liberals, at least for those who see the urgency of decarbonizing to control climate change. There is a semi-progressive government that thinks that it has strong climate credentials because it has a long term plan. At the same time, neither the Alberta NDP nor the federal Liberals properly appreciate the scale and seriousness of climate change, which is why they are willing to keep backing new fossil fuel projects.

One Calgary Herald article today had an interesting comment:

Kenney says that if he takes office after next week’s vote, he’ll abolish the carbon tax and scrap the NDP’s 100 megatonne cap on oilsands emissions.

Federal sources note that the loss of the provincial carbon tax isn’t a big problem to them because Ottawa would simply impose its own tax.

But the emissions cap is a huge deal for the Trudeau Liberals.

They say removal of that cap could take Canada out of compliance with the Paris Agreement on climate change.

This is a reminder for the other perennial Liberal/NDP line on climate change: whatever the faults of our approach, the Conservatives will be worse. There is truth to that, and it provides the second prong of the dilemma for voters in Canada who think rapid decarbonization is urgent and essential.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

. April 24, 2019 at 3:59 pm

Kenney election promise could spell trouble for in-situ oil sites

Jason Kenney’s election promise to remove the oilsands emissions cap will likely have far-reaching consequences for Alberta’s in-situ oil projects.

It all stems from federal Bill C-69, which would overhaul Canada’s energy regulatory process and change the rules for project approvals.

In-situ projects extract bitumen too deep to be mined, generally by using steam. They comprise around 80 per cent of Alberta’s oil reserves.

Federal Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi told Postmedia Tuesday his government had assured Rachel Notley that in-situ sites would not be subject to C-69 — and therefore federal regulations — as long as the NDP’s 100-megaton emissions cap was in place.

But Kenney’s pledge to nix the cap will change all that, making in-situ sites subject to federal review processes, rather than those of the Alberta Energy Regulator.

Milan May 1, 2019 at 1:01 am
. May 2, 2019 at 2:01 pm

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney says “we need to strike the right balance between environmental protection and economic growth” (Kenney Pledges To Restore Balance To Alberta, May 1).

On most issues, balance is sensible. Not on climate change.

As U.S. writer Bill McKibben points out: “Humans and their societies do work best with gradual transitions – it gives everyone some time to adapt. But climate change, sadly, isn’t a classic contest between two groups of people. It’s a negotiation between people on the one hand and physics on the other. And physics doesn’t do compromise.”

Physics says that unless we keep the rise in global temperature below the tipping point for a disastrous climate breakdown (1.5 C by 2100, according to the The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), we won’t have much of an economy left to protect. To pretend otherwise is not only disingenuous; it’s also suicidal.

Michael Polanyi, Toronto

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/letters/article-may-2-action-on-climate-change-urgent-plus-other-letters-to-the/

. May 9, 2019 at 6:36 pm

Build a refinery, ban tankers or phase out fossil fuels? B.C. reacts to Alberta threats

Alberta premier is threatening to stop oil and gas flowing to B.C.

. May 9, 2019 at 6:36 pm

Feds to exempt oilsands from new reviews unless Kenney lifts emissions cap

Ottawa is warning the new government in Alberta not to scrap the province’s legal limit on greenhouse-gas emissions from the oilsands if it doesn’t want to lose jurisdiction to review the environmental impacts of new oilsands projects.

The warning is implicit in the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency’s proposed list of projects that will be subjected to a controversial new environmental-impact review process and has energy advocates crying foul.

The list, released for public comment Wednesday, says new in-situ oilsands projects, ones where steam and drilling are used to extract bitumen from deep underground, won’t have to go through the federal review process as long the hard cap of 100 million tonnes of annual greenhouse-gas emissions imposed by former Premier Rachel Notley stays in place. About 80 per cent of Alberta’s oilsands are mined using in-situ production, rather than open-pit mining.

Currently oilsands developments are assessed by the Alberta Energy Regulator, not the federal government.

The emissions cap was part of a deal Ottawa made to get Alberta to sign on to the Pan Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change and was a factor in Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s decision to approve the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.

anon May 17, 2019 at 4:02 pm

The NDP could never have made it work long-term in Alberta. Really it’s a shock they were ever elected.

. May 23, 2019 at 9:16 pm

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