The United States is the exception among developed countries.
Since taking office, Alberta Premier Rachel Notley has been very aggressive on the climate file. Attempting to remedy what she portrayed as a history of environmental negligence by her predecessors , the premier swiftly increased and expanded Alberta’s carbon tax, placed a hard cap on carbon dioxide emissions, set stiff targets for reducing methane emissions, declared an accelerated phase-out of coal power generation, and promised to replace much of that power with costlier wind or solar power generation.
With Alberta’s economy sinking rapidly, the new Alberta government has decided to throw the province a few new anchors.
A new report from the government of Canada, on Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions from 1990 to 2013, is making news. And as usual, the bad news leads.
Since taking office in mid-September, Alberta’s new Premier Jim Prentice has talked an active game on the energy file. From the perspective of those who believe that Canada’s energy exports are vital to the country’s economic health, many of his comments seem positive. But there is one area where Mr. Prentice’s energy-policy comments are troubling.
Back in April of 2013, NDP leader Thomas Mulcair went down to Washington to rubbish Canada's environmental reputation before its greatest trading partner. Now, the stomp-Canada shoe is on a different wearer: Marc Jaccard, a professor at Simon Fraser University, has gone down to the States to sing Canada's, well, evils.
When pitching new programs, politicians love their 'dedicated' funds: highway trust funds, housing trust funds, environmental protection funds, wildlife-protection funds, and so on. Most recently, under AB 32, California politicians partly sold the program on the basis of all the good that could be done with Greenhouse Gas Reduction Funds raised through the state's cap-and-trade program.
Carbon taxes are once again dominating the discussion over energy policy in Alberta, where Environment Minister Diana McQueen has proposed a sharp hike to Albertas carbon levy. Presently, large emitters in Alberta are required to reduce greenhouse gas emission intensity (that is, emissions per unit of production) by 12 per cent, or face a levy of $15 for every tonne they come up short. The new proposal would hike the emission intensity target to 40 per cent, and raise the levy to $40. Nice round numbers, to be sure, but extremely ambitious ones.