5 Apr 2013

Alberta, fuck yeah!

I've been following the tarsands/fracking/Keystone debate with interest, as I plan to be in the region in a few months (with my awesome girlfriend, of course :)

I think that Keystone is a good idea, BTW, since the oil is going to get transported one way or another, and the pipeline is better than trucks or trains.

But forget the Keystone. Did you know that Alberta has a carbon tax? It may be too low to matter, but that's better than most US states can claim.* (Yesterday there was a big announcement/PR ploy/negotiating tactic to set a much higher carbon tax.)

But forget the tax. What's cool about the 2003 law enabling the carbon tax [pdf] is this magnificent example of spin:
WHEREAS the Government of Alberta has a deep and well
established commitment to protect Alberta’s environment for future
generations through proactive and responsible stewardship of the

WHEREAS the Government of Alberta owns natural resources in
Alberta on behalf of all Albertans and manages the exploration,
development and production of renewable and non-renewable
resources in Alberta;

WHEREAS Alberta is recognized around the world for
leading-edge innovation in environmentally sustainable
technologies that maximize the value of Alberta’s natural resources
and the prosperity of its residents;

WHEREAS the Government of Alberta recognizes that the
management of emissions of carbon dioxide, methane and other
specified gases will serve to protect the Alberta environment;

WHEREAS the Government of Alberta will work co-operatively
with other jurisdictions to harmonize efforts to reduce emissions of
carbon dioxide, methane and other specified gases without
impairing economic growth;

WHEREAS the Government of Alberta is committed to providing
certainty to all sectors of the Alberta economy in pursuing
sustainable development objectives through the establishment of
clear emission reduction targets for carbon dioxide, methane and
other specified gases and related objectives, frameworks, plans and
measures; and

WHEREAS atmospheric carbon dioxide and methane are not toxic
and are inextricably linked with the management of renewable and
non-renewable natural resources, including sinks;

THEREFORE HER MAJESTY, by and with the advice and
consent of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta, enacts as follows...

* Addendum: The tax (officially called "payment to the Alberta Clean Technology Fund") is not levied on most (95%) of emissions due to exemptions/targeting.


Chris Brooks said...

Those "whereas"es have so many contradictions, just reading them makes me feel like I'm being spun around before hitting the piƱata.

Joel W said...

In case you are interested, there is a good article explaining Alberta's policy by Andrew Leach in the Canadian Tax Journal: https://www.ctf.ca/ctfweb/EN/Publications/CTJ_Contents/2012CTJ4.aspx

Not exactly a carbon tax, more a hybrid approach based on emissions intensity.

MartiRoach said...

Regarding your support for KeystoneXL, you assume it has to be transported in the US. The US has no interest in what this pipeline does....except as supporting corporate interests. And, furthermore, why support production of dirty oil? It only accelerates disruptive climate activity.

A carbon tax in Alberta sounds like moving in the right direction.

David Zetland said...

@Joel -- thanks

@martiRoach -- yes, a tax is a good idea. I support the Keystone b/c the oil is going to market ONE WAY OR ANOTHER. The pipeline's benefits will be shared by producers and consumers, as usual with economic goods (subsidies can distort shares but they are not necessary here). Dirty, btw, is not necessary, and I'm a fan of cleaner production, which can happen in ALB if their enviro reg gets some backbone...

DT said...

David Z "ONE WAY OR ANOTHER" there is no guarantee whatsoever that this is a correct assumption..if the three or four pipelines currently being discussed are stopped, then it is inconceivable to me that rail and road will be able to pick up the lost capacity...I do not believe the industry will be able to expand in an unrestrained way as it hopes without the pipelines...

Jeremy said...

Unfortunately, Alberta doesn't have a carbon tax - see this post by Marc Jaccard, one of Canada's leading resource economists: http://markjaccard.blogspot.com/2013/04/albertas-non-carbon-tax-and-our.html?spref=tw

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