Today the Alberta government announced important changes to
current climate change legislation, the Specified Gas Emitters
Regulation (SGER). The government has stated that it would renew
the SGER, which was set to expire on June 30th, with the
Previously an owner of a facility
that emitted 100,000 tonnes or more of greenhouse gases in a year
was required to reduce the emissions intensity of that facility by
a maximum of 12 percent. With today's announcement, the maximum
emissions intensity reduction requirement will be increased to 15
percent from and after January 1, 2016, and then to 20 percent from
and after January 1, 2017.
To comply with the emissions
intensity requirements under the SGER, facility owners may, in
addition to physically abating greenhouse gas emissions, purchase:
1. Alberta-based emission offsets; 2. emission performance credits;
or 3. technology fund credits (or any permutation of the
foregoing). While emission offsets and emission performance credits
may be purchased in an open market, technology fund credits may
only be purchased from the government at the prescribed price set
under the SGER. The prior price was $15/tonne. The cost of
technology fund credits will be increased to $20/tonne for 2016 and
to $30/tonne for 2017.
The government emphasized that today's announced changes to
the SGER are part of a larger effort towards arriving at a
comprehensive climate change strategy.
The government has appointed an advisory panel, chaired by Dr.
Andrew Leach of the University of Alberta, to conduct a
comprehensive review of current policy, consult with stakeholders,
and make recommendations for further measures. The advisory panel
is to report by the Fall. Its mandate is to examine carbon
emissions on a broad scale and not just those currently regulated
under the SGER.
The advice of the panel will be considered by the government in
its development of a new provincial climate change strategy. The
timing for completion of such new strategy has not been set
definitively by today's announcement; however, the government
indicates a goal of making further policy announcements in time for
the COP21 climate change summit in Paris at the end of 2015.
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