Environmental sustainability is at the forefront of provincial, federal and global politics. This trend has been gradual in the past decade and is now exploding exponentially as people around the globe begin to recognize and place precedence upon the importance of the environment and protecting our planet from global warming and other various negative environmental forces. Whether or not an individual chooses to believe in climate change or care about the environment is irrelevant. Everyone has their own opinions but at the end of the day, the government decides how the population will deal with environmental issues. The new provincial carbon tax has not been popular since it was announced; however, economists say it is the most efficient way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions is not a province specific goal but is rather a global goal developed at the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in a convention labelled the “Paris Agreement”. This Agreement has been ratified by 144 countries across the globe including countries such as China, India, the United States, Canada and England. The aim of the convention is the following:
What does this mean? There is a global agreement that requires countries to take tangible actions towards reducing their greenhouse gas emissions. Canada is one of these countries and therefore must enact policies that achieve the above objectives. The Province of Alberta therefore took economically efficient measures to reduce provincial greenhouse gas emissions. The provincial government was not acting on its own accord but rather is adhering to requirements outlined by the Federal government who in turn is adhering to requirements outlined by the Paris Agreement. Therefore, regardless of who is in power provincially or federally, there will always be global pressures attached to the Paris Agreement that will require Canada and it’s provinces to follow the global trend of protecting the environment and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Alberta’s cheapest source of electricity, coal plants, accounts for approximately 44% of Alberta’s electricity. These emissions intensive coal plants are being gradually phased out throughout the next decade. This means that electricity prices will steadily increase due to the decreased supply of such cheap electricity generation.
The Provincial Carbon Tax and various other impending environmental regulations have and will continue to come into effect in Alberta and throughout Canada. This also plays a part in increasing the prices of energy due to the strategy of pricing dirtier energy generation in favour of cleaner albeit more expensive renewable sources.