On a public policy Richter scale, Alberta’s new Climate Leadership Plan is an 11. It is enormously positive and forward-looking and will yield measurable benefits for the health and quality of life of Albertans. Significantly, the new plan is supported by oil industry leaders, environmental organizations and other important stakeholders.
The closure of polluting coal-fired electricity generating plants by 2030, and their replacement with clean renewable energy, will prevent thousands of premature deaths and hospital admissions, and hundreds of millions of dollars in lost productivity due to smog-related illness. Replacing coal will benefit both the lungs and wallets of Albertans.
The creation of a comprehensive energy efficiency programme will be an enormous employment generator and save Albertans money on their electricity bills.
Finally, the implementation of an economy-wide carbon price consistent with that in other provinces and a limit on oil sands emissions will begin to bend the pollution curve downwards, ensuring the oil and gas industry in particular becomes more competitive and sustainable. This carbon price will also provide revenue that will be returned to Albertans and used for badly needed infrastructure improvements.
In one fell swoop today, Premier Rachel Notley’s decisive and visionary leadership is increasing the diversity and stability of the Alberta – and Canadian -- economies and repositioning them to best advantage for the future. Today’s announcement will undoubtedly ensure that Alberta’s interests are well-served at next week’s UN climate change summit in Paris.
Photo: davebloggs007. Use under a Creative Commons license.