First, the statement. Then, the analysis.
Alberta is the first province in Canada to introduce legislation to reduce greenhouse gas emission intensity from large industry.
Bill 3, Climate Change and Emissions Management Amendment Act and its accompanying Specified Gas Emitters Regulation state companies that emit more than 100,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases a year must reduce their emissions intensity by 12 per cent starting July 1, 2007.
The move reflects Premier Ed Stelmach's priority to manage growth pressures in Alberta. "This government is committed to tackling the issue of climate change, and this is just one of many ways we are responding,'' said Ed Stelmach. "We can embrace economic growth and also be good stewards of our environment, of our province."
The Specified Gas Emitters Regulation details how companies can reduce their emissions intensity. These compliance options include making operating improvements, buying an Alberta-based offset to apply against their emission total or contributing to a new government fund that will invest in technology to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the province.
"I believe technology is key to delivering on Albertans' vision for emission management. By dedicating a technology fund right here in Alberta, we are able to draw on our own renewable resource of innovation," said Environment Minister Rob Renner.
Projects that qualify as offsets must be located in Alberta and spending from the technology fund will occur in the province. The technology fund could be used to further the development of carbon capture and management- an option which has great potential to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases worldwide.
"This legislation once again affirms that Alberta is a leader on this important global issue," said Renner. "Albertans are very responsible people. We are proud of our majestic province and quick to take practical, thoughtful and innovative action to protect it."
Alberta was the first province to introduce specific climate change legislation in 2002 and the first to require large industrial facilities to report their greenhouse gas emissions.
Okay... so the government knows how much these large facilities are emitting, and they're expecting them to reduce by 12%. I'm a little foggy on whether the reductions need to be AT 12% by July 1, or whether they need to START the reductions by July 1. Either way, reductions are a good thing. Those who can't reduce will be held to task, and can make up for it by donating to or investing in clean energy alternatives, etc. in a similar vein to the "Carbon Neutrality" being championed by David Suzuki, among others.
Is 12% a huge deal? Not really. It works out to approximately 8% of Alberta's total emissions (the companies required to reduce their emissions account for roughly 70% of Alberta's total emissions), and that's only IF all the required companies made their reduction targets, which is a pipe-dream. The environmental lobby will be all over this, saying it's piss-poor and inadequate, no good, terrible, and a sign of the apocalypse. What they will FAIL to mention, no doubt, is that Ed Stelmach, the Premier of Alberta, and Prime Minister Stephen Harper, he of "No Green Bones" (as described by a Doctor, so it must be true), were the men who announced the first provincial legislation to reduce emissions.
Let's be frank, here... the reduction level is small. The total impact on the environment will be negligible, and will likely not be noticed in the lifetime of anyone old enough to read this blog. But it's SOMETHING... it's a START. And it's more than anyone else has done so far. Alberta's PC Government, with the help of the evil, tree-hating Conservative government in Ottawa, has announced legislated emission reduction targets. And although the environmentalists will bitch and moan (what they do best) about how inadequate it is... it's still 100% better than anyone else in the country. So they can go to the 9 other provinces and 3 territories, get reduction targets into legislation in THOSE jurisdictions, and THEN come back to Alberta and tell us our targets aren't good enough. Until then... our targets might not be great, but they're still better than anyone else's.