VANCOUVER — Alberta's comprehensive strategy to phase out coal power, ramp up renewable energy, put a price on carbon pollution and limit emissions from oilsands demonstrates that provinces can take strong, determined leadership on climate change, even those with economies traditionally linked to fossil fuel development.
The strategy, which includes a phase-out of coal-fired power by 2030, a ramp-up of renewable energy to 30 per cent by 2030, a 100 megatonne limit on oilsands emissions and a $30 per tonne price on all carbon emissions by 2018, marks a profound shift in the province's approach to climate action, according to the David Suzuki Foundation.
"It's another example of the way Canadian provinces and cities are leading the way on climate change while strengthening and diversifying their economies," said David Suzuki Foundation science and policy manager Ian Bruce.
Revenues from the carbon-pricing plan would be earmarked for clean technology and innovation, public transit, clean energy infrastructure, a First Nations fund and support for low-income households. "Alberta's comprehensive energy strategy marks a new era of Canadian leadership on climate change," said Bruce. "The shift toward a clean-energy economy is already happening, with cities and provinces leading the way. The last piece of the puzzle will be a strategy from the federal government to build on the growing momentum."
"Although there's still room for improvement, the commitments we've seen are important contributions to solving the climate crisis and set the stage for progressively stronger targets as we aim for a renewable energy economy by 2050," Bruce said. "Coal power in Alberta puts nearly as much carbon into the air as all oilsands operations, so the impact of phasing out these massively polluting power plants and shifting to zero-emission power sources is a landmark step that will cut emissions and save lives."
Saskatchewan, meanwhile, has committed to 50 per cent renewable energy capacity by 2030 and Ontario released details of its forthcoming cap-and-trade regime. With the United Nations climate summit in Paris only a week away, the message from leaders across the country is clear: It's time to accelerate Canada's shift to a clean-energy economy.
Federal leaders heading to Paris will no doubt make note of the strong call to action from provinces and Canadians. Recent polling by the Environics Institute for Survey Research shows that a growing majority of Canadians want the federal government to sign on to a strong international agreement to cut carbon emissions.
"Collective will is what moves the needle on major issues like climate change," said David Suzuki Foundation CEO Peter Robinson. "Canada has a historic opportunity to show global leadership in Paris, by adopting the strongest policies already in place in parts of the country and developing a unifying climate change strategy that would allow us to meet our international commitments and targets."
For information, please contact:
Alvin Singh, Communications Manager
David Suzuki Foundation