Twenty two organizations, representing a broad cross section of society from environmental and landowner groups to First Nations, called on Alberta to be a true climate leader today in an open letter to Premier Redford.

They made this call in response to the Premier’s recent visits to the United States and the ads published by the Alberta government there claiming that Alberta already is a climate leader.

We also want to have our voices heard in the discussions currently going on behind closed doors between the Alberta government and the oil industry over how to "renew" the province’s climate policy (that would be the policy that the Alberta government has acknowledged won't come close to achieving the government's own climate targets). 

Graphic courtesy of Chelsea Flook

 

The letter reads:

Dear Premier Redford,

As a major fossil fuel producer and one of the world’s wealthiest economies, Alberta bears responsibility in the fight against climate change. If Alberta doesn’t face the challenge, who will?

Despite your rhetoric, the world is not on course to preserve a stable climate for our children. Fulfilling the modest commitments made in Copenhagen gives us just a 6 percent chance of staying below the crucial 2˚C threshold and more than a one in three chance of the planet warming more than 4˚C. That puts earth on track for climate change that the President of the World Bank has warned would be “devastating” and “risks putting prosperity out of reach for millions of people in the developing world.”

In this context, the plan that Alberta has floated to gradually raise its price on carbon to $40 per tonne and increase the emissions intensity target for big polluters to 40 per cent is wholly inadequate. The province’s efforts to date are not showing climate leadership.

The world must transition urgently to a low-carbon economy. Alberta can either lead the way or be caught unprepared as other markets move ahead. 

Alberta can — and must — do more. Even with the 40/40 plan, the average cost to large emitters will be just over half of what they face in neighbouring British Columbia. Polluters will still be allowed to purchase questionable offset credits and pay into a technology fund rather than improve their performance, thus limiting the actual reductions from heavy industry and the oil sands.

Getting ahead of the clean energy curve will require bold leadership and a much higher price on carbon in addition to other emissions reduction measures. The market needs a clear price signal reaching at least $150 per tonne by 2020 to make the large investments needed to drive innovative Alberta emission reduction solutions and to stop the expansion of high-carbon infrastructure.  

We understand the scale of the challenge. We call on you to act and for Albertans and the rest of the world to meet the challenge.

Signed

  • Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation
  • Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment
  • Canada's Citizens Climate Lobby
  • Central Athabasca Stewardship Society
  • Change Alberta
  • Council of Canadians
  • For Our Grandchildren
  • Global Exchange
  • Green 13
  • Greenpeace Canada
  • Greenspiration
  • Indigenous Environmental Network
  • Indigenous Tar Sands Campaign
  • Keepers of the Athabasca
  • Peace River Environmental Society
  • Public Interest Alberta
  • Sierra Club Canada
  • Sierra Club Prairie
  • Springvale Surface Rights Association
  • Toronto Climate Campaign
  • West Athabasca Watershed Bioregional Society
  • West Coast Environmental Law