Oil-rich Alberta launches climate plan

A Canadian state that produces about 70% of the country's oil has set an ambitious plan to reduce its projected carbon emissions by 50%.

Alberta’s government announced details of the climate change plan, focusing on carbon capture and storage, energy conservation and efficiency, and greening energy production.

State chiefs hope the measures will reduce emissions by 200m tonnes by 2050.

“Like others around the globe, we are working to find the right balance between development and conservation,” said Premier Ed Stelmach.

“Our climate change plan ensures environmental protection while allowing for continued economic growth.”

A joint government and industry council will be set up to determine an action plan for implementing carbon capture and storage technologies in Alberta.

It is hoped this will dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the state’s oil sands industry and contribute about 70% of overall cuts in emissions.

About 12% of reductions are set to be achieved through conservation and energy efficiency, while increased investment in clean energy technologies and incentives for expanding renewable energy sources are expected to account for another 18%.

However, green groups in Canada criticised the plan and staged a demonstration to greet Premier Stelmach as he arrived at the Council of the Federation meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia, on Monday.

Campaigners said Alberta’s plan would allow emissions to continue growing until 2020, particularly from the oil sands mines, which were heavily criticised by environmental groups earlier this month.

“Alberta is already responsible for one third of the nation’s emissions,” said Andrea Reimer of the Wilderness Committee.

“It’s time for Alberta to stop saying ‘let them eat carbon’ to the other provinces and tighten their own belt on the tar sands.”

Christopher Hatch of Environmental Defence added: “The tar sands are holding Canadians hostage.”

Kate Martin

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