COP 21 is coming up quick. Alberta is due to announce new climate change policies just days before the conference will take place. Although the information has not yet been released in regards to the new legislation (other than the doubling of carbon tax in the province), speculations have been made on the changes that will be announced over the next three weeks:

Reduction or Elimination of Coal Usage High

Alberta produces 30% of Canada’s GHG emissions and half of those come from our use of coal for energy. We have begun to see coal plants shut down throughout the region and can expect more in the near future. This may be in the form of a goal such as a 50% reduction over the next five years, or an aggressive elimination plan.

Energy Efficiency Program High

Both municipal and personal programs may be implements for upgrading to energy efficient technologies. Programs such as Residential Toilet Replacement Program in Calgary which offers rebates for switching to low flow models may become more prevalent throughout the province.

Cap and Trade Medium

Recently Ontario put into place a cap-and-trade law. Now, 75% of Canadians live in a place where there is a price on carbon. This limit is shown to significantly reduce GHG reductions as the carbon credits are placed on the free market which will reflect the real price of pollution. It is easier for companies to pass of the cost of carbon tax to consumers, but if they are required to purchase credits which is more volatile, they may bear more of the cost which will encourage the private sector to change.

Consumer Carbon Tax Low

Since our neighbours in British Columbia have been charged a tax on all items that emit GHG (i.e. gasoline, diesel), their GHG per capita has been reduced by nearly 18%. Alberta may not come on board, as experts are thinking it would be more beneficial to reduce GHG emissions by tackling industry than the everyday person.

It’s hard to gauge what legislative steps Alberta may take to combat climate change. The next few weeks will shape our future significantly. We will post an update once the announcement has been made.