Photo: Fill out the Alberta climate survey and protect your health!

Credit: Beth Allan via Flickr

By Gideon Forman, Climate and Transportation Policy Analyst

The Province of Alberta is asking citizens to help fight climate change by filling out a Climate Leadership Survey.

Participation takes only a few minutes. By completing it you can help reduce carbon pollution and improve the health of Albertans.

The survey seeks your opinion on several questions, but the most important are about a phase-out of coal-fired electricity, a new carbon tax and increased use of renewable energy. The David Suzuki Foundation has long supported these ideas, and we hope you will too.

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The harm caused by coal is undeniable. In Alberta alone, coal-burning is a factor in more than 4,000 asthma attacks and nearly 100 deaths every year. We can save lives and reduce human suffering by swiftly ending its use.

Since coal also produces more carbon pollution than other fuels, a key reduction strategy is carbon pricing. Alberta already charges its largest emitters, but to facilitate a coal phase-out a higher price is needed, one that reflects the full extent of the black rock's damages to health and the environment. A new price on carbon pollution should also cover all emissions, not just those from the largest emitters

If we're going to shift away from coal, we need other sources of electricity to replace it. Fortunately, Alberta is blessed with a wide array of renewable energy options. The Pembina Institute says the province "enjoys some of Canada's most abundant and reliable renewable energy resources, including hundreds of gigawatts' worth of potential solar, wind, geothermal, biomass and hydro capacity." But this renewable energy will only be developed if the government provides incentives.

What's the payoff if we dump coal, properly tax carbon and ramp up renewables? Ontario, which closed its last coal plant in 2014 and embraced wind and solar power, is already reporting dramatic improvements in air quality, especially in major cities. It's also saving billions of dollars in health-care costs.

These tremendous benefits are available to Albertans if the provincial government shifts to a greener electricity system and a clean energy economy. These changes will only happen if enough people like you take a moment to share their views.

In addition to the online survey, public open houses will also be held in Calgary on September 1st and in Edmonton September 2nd. Thank you for filling out the Alberta Climate Leadership Survey today!

August 27, 2015

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