It seems the province of Alberta is turning green as it announces plans to implement an economy-wide tax on carbon emissions in 2017. This plan will generate revenue for local businesses and pay off in the long-term despite taxing individuals.
As home to the country's controversial oil sands and the country’s biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions, Alberta is frequently met with criticism especially when it comes to a lack of action on climate change. The idea that this new plan could heavily reduce emissions could change that.
The province’s proposed plan also includes phasing out pollution from coal-fired electricity generation by 2030 and putting a cap on emissions from the oil sands industry.
While it could boost Alberta’s global standing as a climate change leader, it does mean that Albertans will have an added 4.7-cents to pay per litre of gas and 5.5 cents more per litre of diesel come 2017. It could also cost the average home an extra $320 in heating in 2017 with this continuing to rise into 2018.
However, the $3b revenue this should generate will be re-invested back into the province and will be used to develop public transport and greener infrastructure.
Speaking to environment and energy groups, Premier Rachel Notley said: “This is the day that we start to mobilize capital and resources to create green jobs, green energy, green infrastructure and a strong, environmentally responsible, sustainable and visionary Alberta energy industry with a great future. This is the day we stop denying there is an issue, and this is the day we do our part.”
Energy companies like Suncor Energy, Cenovus, Canadian Natural Resources Ltd have endorsed the plan along with environmental groups such as the Pembina Institute, Forest Ethics and Environmental Defence Canada.
"It will help us access new markets for our energy products, and diversify our economy with renewable energy and energy efficiency technology. Alberta is showing leadership on one of the world's biggest problems."
The government said this will not affect the allowed increase in combined annual carbon pollution from about 70 million tons to a maximum of 100 million tons per year under proposed legislation.
Notley’s plan will help the country prepare Canada's national strategy ahead of December’s Paris climate change summit.