Fairness as between Provinces in the Canadian Confederation

We write this blog hoping that the citizens of Alberta can appreciate that exploitation of the tar sands leads to an inequitable distribution of responsibility for reducing GHG emissions among provinces.

In the January 5th, 2014 edition of the Vancouver Observer, Barry Saxifrage comments on a global energy report by ExxonMobil (“The Outlook for Energy: a view to 2040”).

“Amazingly, ExxonMobil’s emissions projections aren’t a ‘business-as-usual’ scenario.

They assume ‘that governments will continue to gradually adopt a wide variety of more stringent policies to help stem GHG emissions.’ This includes a carbon price rising to $80 per tonne of CO2 (tCO2) in OECD nations, like Canada and the USA. A carbon price of $80 is much too low to prevent climate disaster according to ExxonMobil. And yet it is also far above what we have the political will for so far.

Environment Canada projects that Alberta’s extremely low carbon pricing will result in such a huge surge in climate pollution that the province will single-handedly wipe out all the climate cuts in all the rest of Canada.”

As recently as November 13th of last year, the Premier of Alberta confirmed that her Province would not be raising its price for carbon, currently at $15 per ton.

We have previously commented on the inequity of the Province of Alberta going full speed ahead with the exploitation of the tar sands while other Provinces, particularly Ontario, attempt to reduce their carbon emissions.  We noted that this inequity required leadership by Ontario to address the issue on a national scale.  That leadership is not present at the level of the Federal Government.

At the time we also questioned: “Do Albertans recognize that other Provinces are doing the heavy lifting necessary to meeting Canada’s Copenhagen targets for GHG emissions?”   Or are they unwilling to change the status quo, which brings with it financial wealth that flows to the Province through the exploitation of the tar sands?


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