Alberta's Solution? Impose Carbon Taxes

Published: Energy Processing Canada -
Under Health, Safety, Environment, Security

On January 1, 2017 the Government of Alberta voted with the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and implemented carbon taxes on CO2, as a greenhouse gas, then issued an early flurry of refund cheques. The politicians and bureaucrats believe - and seemingly sit back with a warm and fuzzy feeling - that by 'taxing the polluter.' i.e. every Albertan -- it has done something good for the planet.

Powered by noisy political pressure, the provincial government increased energy costs on fossil fuels and created a subsidized energy system for renewables, that has added a new source of tax revenue. The end result will probably be an increase in unemployment as energy-capital investment locates elsewhere, a continuing lack of competitiveness, energy poverty, and increased costs.

There is little doubt the ensemble of climate models presented by the IPCC and used by the Alberta government fail, when normatively tested as a hypothesis against global surface temperature trends (which haven't dramatically risen in the past 15-17 year). Unless  nature has another surprise for us, three short decades of irresponsible climate policy from the IPCC will take at least a generation to reverse because there are now armies of bureaucrats, politicians, scientists, and business living off the climate change scare.

Sadly, the education system has been captured by the activists, and the young people are inculcated with environmental, political, and economic ideology. During their education, these same young people are not given the basic critical and analytical methods to evaluate ideology that has been presented as facts.

Onerous and ineffective policies relating to greenhouse gas emissions - such as cap-and-trade, taxes on fossil fuel extraction, or carbon taxes - have brought down governments. There are times in history when the popular consensus is demonstrably wrong. It's hard to predict how it will impact Edmonton, but a late-February, 2017 survey of 1,357 Albertans found 64 per cent somewhat or strongly disapprove of the tax.

Alberta's Plan to Fight CO2

Alberta plans to end coal pollution by phasing out 12 or 18 coal-fired generating units (slated to retire by 2031) and opted to pay to retrofit six for natural gas (until retirement in 2061). The plan is to replace the coal-generated power with natural gas, wind, solar, and biomass.

The goal is 30% of this province's electricity will come from renewables by 2030. This translates into 5,000 megawatts of renewable capacity at an estimated cost of $10.5 billion in new investment and the creation of 7,200 jobs in this sector.

The province is also capping oil sands emissions at 100 megatonnes/year. It also doubled the previous $15/tonne imposed on large emitters to $30/tonne, effective Jan. 1st.

Alberta is intent on reducing another GHG, methane, and has set a target of 45% by 2025. Interestingly, it has only imposed this on oil and gas operations and didn't consider forcing it on Alberta's largest emitters - the cattle industry.

According to the province, the imposition of its $20/tonne levy on everyone this year is expected to raise $9.5 billion for its coffers and all monies will be "reinvested to diversity the economy and create new jobs." The Department of Finance has budgeted $3.4 billion for major renewable energy projects, $2.3 billion for rebates to Alberta families, $2.2 billion to build green infrastructure (such as public transit), $865 million to cut the small business tax rate, $645 million for Energy Efficiency Alberta (a new agency dedicated to increase energy efficiency), and $195 million to help Indigenous People and communities dependent on coal to adjust.

Alberta clearly sides with the activists who believe humans must be activists to prevent catastrophe. Many in the energy sector, trained as geologists and geophysicists, consider that humans have little impact on what the climate does. The real question is, who do you support?


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