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7.6 Provincial Summary: Alberta

Reality Check: The State of Climate Progress in Canada

Emissions profile

In 2009 Alberta emitted 234 Mt CO2e, a 37% increase in emissions since 1990.104 A breakdown of 2009 emission by source is provided in Figure 28.

Economy-wide measures

The three main approaches of Alberta’s climate plan are: energy conservation and efficiency, CCS and greening energy production.z

Alberta’s Specified Gas Emitter Regulation – the first legislation of its kind in Canada – limits the intensity of emissions in the province.aa Large final emittersbb were required to reduce combustion, venting and fugitive GHG intensities by 12% between 2003 and 2005. Facilities built after 2000 receive a three-year grace period after which they must reduce intensities by 2% annually until they reach the 12% reduction. The Emissions Trading Regulation provides compliance flexibility for the Specified Gas Regulations. Permits can be traded between firms and offsets can be purchased from sectors not covered by the regulation. Compliance credits can also be purchased from the Climate Change and Emissions Management Fund (CCEMF) (see Chapter 3). Under this regulation, in 2010, a reduction of 6.5 Mt of emissions was achieved from large facilities and over $70 million was contributed into the (CCEMF).105

Emission reductions measures by source

Overall, total energy emissions have increased 37% since 1990; however, emissions have decreased 5% since 2007. This shift was caused by decreased use of coal in power generation, but also because of a slowdown in oil and gas activity due to the economic downturn.106 Through conservation and energy efficiency, Alberta seeks to reduce emissions by 24 Mt by 2050. Increased energy efficiency incentive programs, efficiency standards, and an Energy Efficiency Act are all part of Alberta’s efficiency strategy. CCS is expected to reduce emissions by 139 Mt by 2050.

Finally, Alberta has a goal of reducing 37 Mt of GHG emissions by 2050 through greening energy production using clean burning coal technologies, wind energy projects and deep geothermal energy production.

Since 1990, transportation emissions have increased almost 60% in Alberta.107 Renewable fuel standards in the province require a 2% renewable fuel content in diesel and 5% alcohol content in gasoline, with all renewable fuel emitting 25% less GHGs than equivalent petroleum fuel.108

Agriculture emissions in Alberta increased around 30% from 1990 to 2009 to reach 17 Mt CO2e. Under Alberta’s GHG Regulations, agriculture emissions reductions are encouraged through carbon offsets.

Provincial evaluation of emissions reduction measures

The Ministry of Environment conducts an annual report. In 2010-2011, the report included, an overview of annual efforts under the Specified Gas Emitters Regulation and a performance measure tracking the success in meeting the GHG emissions growth targets outlined in the Climate Change Strategy.109

Alberta’s Auditor General evaluated the Climate Change Strategy in 2009 with a follow-up report in 2011. It was recommend that the Department of Environment and Water clarify the guidance it provides to facilities, verifiers, offset project developers and offset protocol developers, to ensure they consistently follow the requirements in place to achieve the Alberta government’s emissions reduction targets.110

[z] Information included in this appendix is sourced from Government of Alberta 2008 unless otherwise indicated.

[aa] Emissions intensity refers to the emissions relative to production or economic output such as GDP.

[bb] Those emitters producing 100,000 tonnes CO2e or more annually. Collectively, these facilities account for approximately half of the GHGs in Alberta.

[102] Government of Alberta 2008

[103] Environment Canada 2011b

[104] Environment Canada 2011b

[105] Government of Alberta 2011

[106] Government of Alberta 2011

[107] Environment Canada 2011b

[108] Government of Alberta 2010

[109] Government of Alberta 2011

[110] Auditor General of Alberta 2011