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General · 10th October 2013
Barry Saxifrage
In a nutshell

What the tar sands industry says

We are climate leaders: "Alberta is regulating GHG emissions in the oil sands region by being the only jurisdiction in North America with mandatory reduction targets for large emitters across all sectors." Specifically, Alberta requires large climate polluters to pay $15 for every tonne of CO2 that exceeds their limits.

What they leave out

Alberta exempts 96% of their provincial climate pollution.

Last year, only 2% of Alberta's climate pollution paid the $15 carbon fine. That worked out to just 24 cents per tonne of climate pollution in the province's economy. It was less than nine cents per barrel of tar sands bitumen.

In contrast, 70% of climate emissions in BC have to pay our $30 carbon tax. The result is that BC charged 70 times more in carbon fees per tonne of climate pollution in their economy.

According to Environment Canada, Alberta's current climate policies are too weak to prevent their emissions from increasing dramatically by 2020. All of this increase in emissions will be caused by the tar sands industry.

The negative consequences of Alberta's ineffective climate policies will spread far beyond their provincial borders. Environment Canada projects that Alberta's surging emissions will equal 80% of our national failure to meet our global "Copenhagen Accord" climate commitment.

At a glance

My three charts below provide different views of Alberta's climate pollution problem. The first shows how Alberta climate policies have been applied to past emissions. The next two show Environment Canada (EC) projections for Alberta's climate pollution in 2020.