The fact that the Trudeau government’s promised 42 per cent cap on oil and gas emissions would actually only require industry to reduce emissions by 20 to 23 per cent by 2030 is problematic for the Alberta government’s response. Maybe it wasn’t.
It is also important that there is enough flexibility and tolerance that the technology may not be ready for aggressive emissions controls, or what environmental advocates call, by the end of the decade. Maybe it wasn’t.loophole. ”
Alternatively, it could be considered that this is essentially no different from a hard cap on emissions, and is more similar to the salary cap system in big league basketball. This allows the team If you’re willing to pay the luxury tax, it’s to add more expensive players. A draft plan introduced by Ottawa on Thursday would allow companies to buy credits for additional emissions or pay money into a technology fund if they are unable or unwilling to live within the proposed federal limits. can do.
If federal Liberal ministers had relented further and only required emissions to be 10 to 15 per cent below 2019 levels by 2030, or given some route to resource producers, Daniel Smith It is not entirely clear whether the Prime Minister’s reaction would not have been more violent. Greenhouse pollution may increase.
Watch | Environment Minister announces framework for emissions caps:
The Smith government’s premise is that Ottawa essentially has no constitutional right to apply climate regulations to the oil and gas sector. This means that there was probably nothing that Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault could have done at Thursday’s press conference that would have been acceptable – abandoning the policy or talking points and instead reading past speeches from Alberta’s premier. other than.
About Ottawa’s new emissions regulations, this controversial one targeting Alberta’s most lucrative industry Rules to curb methaneand further clean electricity regulation, Smith’s reaction was the same. Not only would Ottawa’s proposal be punitive to emitters and Alberta’s economy, it would also be illegal given the province’s constitutional jurisdiction to control electricity generation and natural resources.
“Singling out the oil and gas industry, which concentrates resources under our exclusive jurisdiction primarily in a single state, our state, is clearly unconstitutional in my opinion.” she said.
What would be acceptable? On emissions caps and federal climate action, she told Mr. Guilbeault and Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson to simply abandon the plan, which also targets net zero by 2050, but not before mid-century. He told the government to keep pace with Alberta, which has far fewer regulations and goals for the United States. milestone.
Mr Smith reiterated his intention to oppose the new federal framework by invoking sovereignty legislation in the new year. Last week, when she invoked that provincial law for the first time, she used it as a springboard to propose a new Crown corporation that could build and operate natural gas plants in a way that somehow circumvents Ottawa’s grid regulations.
“We would do the same thing in this case,” Smith said.
“If we need to create certainty in some way to avoid capping production; [for oil and gas]So we are not retreating into production, whatever that may be, but we are also producers of last resort. ”
To be sure, the federal and provincial governments have competing visions for what Alberta will look like in the 2030s. But the latter now features the state potentially acting as both a power plant developer and an oil sands extractor.
An industry lobbying group agreed with Mr. Smith’s argument that the rule could force companies to: reduce their activities — “This draft framework effectively puts a ceiling on production.”
Pathways Alliance is a consortium of six major oil sands developers. was more carefulwarns that over-regulation is layered on top of various other government regimes, including the state’s industrial carbon price and offset trading system.
However, oil sands groups have proposed their own 2030 targets for net zero by 2050, which are approximately 27% emissions reductioninside the stadium in Ottawa.
Pathways’ statement said Guilbeault and Wilkinson “adjusted some of the aggressive oil sands targets proposed in the emissions reduction plan after analysis showed they were technically unattainable.” acknowledged.
Federal ministers took pains to emphasize the flexibility and softness of their proposed caps, while simultaneously emphasizing the need to act and crack down on Canada’s biggest sources of emissions.As Mr. Guilbeault pointed out to CBC Radio, When something happens, The department predicts that Canada could produce more oil and gas in 2030 than it did in 2019 while meeting these goals, a sentiment echoed by former environmental activist colleagues. Maybe he didn’t want to hear it.
And what about last year’s plan to build on a 2021 election promise to identify oil and gas carbon emissions, setting a cap 42 percent below previous emissions levels? Guilbeault called this an “ambitious goal based on theoretical economic analysis that does not take into account technical feasibility.”
The government has suggested that much of this new cap can be achieved through carbon capture projects already underway by the industry, as well as through tougher methane reduction targets stated by many industry leaders. they can meet.
Smith did not see the federal proposal until it was released Thursday, but her subsequent comments echoed the warnings and pushback she had issued earlier.
To elicit analysis from Mr. Smith or Alberta Environment Minister Rebecca Schultz on how the contents of the draft framework compare to the tougher targets previously proposed by Ottawa, please contact our reporter (full disclosure: me). The question was necessary. “Their production increase assumptions are wrong. Their technical assumptions are also wrong,” Schultz said from Dubai, referring to the department’s staff’s rapid analysis.
Add comparison Go out for a short run on a daily basis “This is a redo of the national energy plan, and this is a huge area of overreach,” Schultz added in Alberta.
Ottawa’s softened oil and gas cap — can we call it a beret? And the insistence on seeking something technically feasible suggests the Liberals will be more willing to negotiate and add flexibility to the proposal.Similar acceptance should also be considered adjustment The draft Clean Power Regulation already does not actually plan to bring the grid to net zero by 2035 (but that’s an analysis for another day).
The Alberta government is at the table negotiating those rules, even though Smith deems them illegal and unconstitutional. But based on where she draws the line, it’s not clear whether she would pass off further compromise as a victory.
The flexibility Smith continues to pursue in federal policy is less bendable and more disruptive.