Alberta Releases Long-awaited Climate Plan

Aaron Foyer
Alberta Minister Sonya Savage
Corutesy of Lethbridge News Now

There are a few things people have been eagerly waiting for this year: Rhianna’s latest album and the Government of Alberta’s net-zero plan. Yesterday, we finally got one, and let’s just say we’re still waiting to shine bright like a diamond.

What happened: Alberta’s government released the Alberta Emissions Reduction and Energy Development Plan, a 66-page outline on policies and technologies that would help the province decarbonize major industries. Due to its oil and gas sector and other heavy industries, Alberta is the largest emitting province in Canada and so is under pressure to deliver a concrete climate plan.

Some of the key goals outlined in the plan:

  • Achieve a 75 to 80 percent reduction in methane emission from the conventional oil and gas industry by 2030
  • Use carbon capture, small modular nuclear reactors, and hydrogen to decarbonize both the oil sands and electricity sectors
  • Employ hydrogen both for heavy-duty vehicles and for injecting into existing natural gas pipelines
  • Support the development of critical minerals in the province
  • Build systems to study and manage plastic waste

Other sectors discussed were biofuels, transportation, buildings, agriculture, and more.

No everyone was satisfied

Critics say the plan lacked detail and was moslty just aspirational targets.

  • Simon Dyer of the climate think tank Pembina Institute said, “it’s not really a plan. It doesn’t actually provide the level of detail or rigour that you’d expect from a major modern energy jurisdiction in 2023.”

Right, so just come up with a plan that has more detail. No problemo.

(Narrator: But it was all problemo.)

Not enough credit is given to the challenges of decarbonizing Alberta given how many heavy industries are needed to be addressed compared to other provinces.

  • Alberta lacks the superpower most other Canadian provinces have to achieve their own low emissions: hydropower. Not to mention there has been only minor support from the federal government for technologies that have been flagged as key to the province’s net-zero plans.

Bottom line: As they say, Rome wasn’t decarbonized in a day. Progress requires a first step to be taken and this was the Alberta’s first of hopefully many steps.

Read the plan: Alberta Emissions Reduction and Energy Development Plan