Edmonton, AB (May 25, 2016): Dr. David Swann has expressed reservations about the Climate Leadership Plan legislation introduced today. The three part bill put forward by the government places a tax on transportation and heating fuels, establishes a new government agency (Energy Efficiency Alberta) and makes changes to the existing Climate Change and Emissions Management Fund.
“Alberta has long needed to address climate change in a meaningful way,” Swann said. “However, I’m concerned about how the government is choosing to do this.”
“The Environment Ministry has consolidated control of all monitoring and regulatory aspects of this bill; including the creation of a new agency which answers only to the minister.
“The stated purpose of the carbon tax is to reduce consumption but 60% of Albertan households will receive the full rebate amount. How will this incentivize conservation and what metrics did the government use to determine how much tax is enough to change behaviour.
“A primary goal of the plan was supposedly to provide incentives for a new energy future of renewable power. However, the bill doesn’t provide any targets for renewable energy, not even guidelines.
“Measurement of environmental progress is now firmly in the hands of the environment ministry. What methods are they using to determine the effectiveness of the Climate Leadership Plan? Will this process be transparent? How is the monitoring going to be independently checked?
“And what plans are in place for retraining and relocating those whose livelihoods will be eliminated or curtailed by the Climate Action Plan.
“I truly hope the government can provide some answers in the lengthy Legislature debate to come,” Swann concluded. “The Minister may have the best intentions but, as written, the Climate Leadership Implementation Act lacks clear accountability for achieving the stated goals.”