On June 25, 2015, Alberta's Environment Minister announced
that the province will make changes to current climate change
legislation, including the doubling of carbon levies from $15/tonne
to $30/tonne by 2017. The government also stated that larger
emitters will be required to reduce emissions intensity of
greenhouse gases by 20 percent by 2017, up from the current 12
percent reductions currently prescribed in the regulations.
To accomplish these changes, the Alberta government has renewed
the Specified Gas Emitters Regulation
("SGER") for two years. Currently,
"heavy emitters" (facilities that emit more than 100,000
tonnes of greenhouse gases a year) are required to reduce baseline
emissions intensities by 12 percent. Specifically, the SGER
requires that the net emissions intensity for established
facilities cannot exceed 88 percent of the baseline emissions
intensity for the facility for any particular year. The SGER offers
some leeway for facilities that fail to meet emissions targets,
such as purchasing "fund credits" at $15/tonne, making
use of available emissions performance credits (awarded to
facilities which have shown a reduction greater than 12 percent) or
submitting offset credits.
Under the proposed changes, heavy emitters will be required to
reduce emissions intensity by 15 percent in 2016 and 20 percent in
2017. Further, the price of "fund credits" will increase
to $20/tonne in 2016 and $30/tonne in 2017. The timing of the
proposed changes has not yet been announced.
The renewal of SGER for two years allows time for the
government's comprehensive review of Alberta's climate
change policies. This review will be undertaken by an advisory
panel chaired by Andrew Leach, an environmental economist at the
University of Alberta. The review is intended to develop a more
advanced climate action strategy, one that could include enacting
an economy-wide price on carbon pollution, phasing out coal-fired
power, prioritizing renewable energy, building energy-efficient
homes and businesses and investing in public transit.
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