In January 2008, the Alberta government released Alberta's new Climate Change Strategy. The new approach builds on Alberta's 2002 climate change action plan, taking the next step to ensure our province remains at the forefront of addressing this global environmental issue.
The strategy takes action on three fronts:
- Implementing carbon capture and storage;
- Greening energy production; and
- Conserving and using energy efficiently.
Since the strategy's release in January, the Government of Alberta has celebrated a number of milestones within each of these three themes. (More information about Alberta's new Climate Change Strategy and the announcement in January 2008 is available here).
Implementing carbon capture and storage
Alberta has both the practical and scientific expertise to implement carbon capture and storage technology. The technology provides our province with the greatest potential to substantially reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In March 2008, the Alberta government announced the Alberta Carbon Capture and Storage Development Council. A partnership between governments, industry and scientific researchers, the council will develop a clear work plan for implementing carbon capture and storage in Alberta, complete with timing and expectations. The council is expected to report back to government in the fall.
Greening energy production
March 31, 2008 marked the deadline for companies to reduce the intensity of their greenhouse gas emissions by 12 per cent as required by Alberta?s Climate Change and Emissions Management Amendment Act and its accompanying Specified Gas Emitters Regulation, the first regulation of its kind in North America.
Alberta gave companies three options for meeting the reduction: improve the energy efficiency of their operations, buy carbon credits in the Alberta-based offset system or pay $15 into the Climate Change and Emissions Management Fund for every tonne over their reduction target. Facilities could also choose a combination of the options.
To date, the options for compliance have resulted in approximately 2.6 million tonnes of actual reductions through operational changes and practices - including better use and re-use of energy - and investing in verified offsets created by other Alberta projects. Companies also chose to pay approximately $40 million into the Climate Change and Emissions Management Fund, which will invest in projects and technology to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Alberta. The Climate Change and Emissions Management Fund was launched April 2008.
In addition, Alberta has shared its knowledge and action on climate change at the 13th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention of Climate Change in Bali in December and in Montana in May.
Conserving and using energy efficiently
A significant step toward increasing energy conservation and efficiency was achieved in May 2008 with the official launch of Alberta's Conservation Team (ACT). This team, consisting of energetic young Albertans based in Lethbridge, Edmonton, Calgary and Grande Prairie, is traveling across Alberta to encourage Albertans to make a One Simple Act commitment toward conservation. A calendar of ACT's scheduled activities is available online.
Future steps in conserving and using energy efficiently include developing an incentive program to promote the use of energy efficient appliances and home improvements.