Alberta cli­mate moves not about to stop: min­is­ter

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - CANADA - THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

Cli­mate isn’t all that’s chang­ing in Alberta.

The prov­ince’s NDP gov­ern­ment has ar­guably made big­ger moves on global warm­ing in six months than the pre­vi­ous Con­ser­va­tives made in a gen­er­a­tion. And the changes aren’t go­ing to stop.

The de­tails



gov­ern­ment’s new cli­mate change pol­icy — car­bon-price re­bates and green in­fra­struc­ture in­vest­ments, for starters — will be at least partly thrashed out in the com­ing months as the gov­ern­ment read­ies its spring bud­get. But that, says En­vi­ron­ment Min­is­ter Shan­non Phillips, is just the be­gin­ning.

“We are en­ter­ing a world that is go­ing to be con­strained with re­spect to (car­bon),’’ the min­is­ter said re­cently in an in­ter­view with The Cana­dian Press. “Alberta must be car­bon­com­pet­i­tive with re­spect to our en­ergy. It is also not some­thing that this gov­ern­ment cre­ated. It is a fact. Just as the science of cli­mate change is a fact.

“We have a low price of oil, a sci­en­tific con­sen­sus on the way the global econ­omy is go­ing. Within that, one must make care­ful and de­lib­er­ate de­ci­sions on how we move for­ward. The way to do that is not to en­gage in an­gry navel-gaz­ing.’’

Phillips is clear that Premier Rachel Not­ley un­der­stands that gov­ern­ments must not only lead, they must get peo­ple to fol­low. That be­came es­pe­cially clear af­ter poor com­mu­ni­ca­tion sparked noisy protests against the gov­ern­ment’s farm safety leg­is­la­tion.

Phillips uses the word “con­ver­sa­tion’’ — with Al­ber­tans, with com­mu­ni­ties, with in­dus­try — again and again.

But make no mis­take. She is work­ing to­ward a dif­fer­ent prov­ince than the one in which she grew up.

“Cli­mate pol­icy can be — and is — a job cre­ator and com­mu­nity de­vel­oper and a way that com­mu­ni­ties can really take own­er­ship over how they de­velop.’’

The boom-and-bust Alberta of go-go oil and gas in­vest­ment fol­lowed by shud­der­ing halt has got to end, she said.

“I’m not sure that any­body likes $35 a bar­rel (West Texas In­ter­me­di­ate). Or a $6-bil­lion deficit due to a drop in roy­al­ties. Or a spike in do­mes­tic violence rates. Or a spike in food bank us­age. Or a spike in sui­cide rates. Or char­i­ta­ble do­na­tions be­ing down. I’m not sure that any­one’s ac­tu­ally com­fort­able with that. And that’s what re­ly­ing on one com­mod­ity to one mar­ket at one price de­liv­ers to us. It de­liv­ers great wealth when that one com­mod­ity is high, but this has been an ob­ject les­son, the last six to eight months, in the need to di­ver­sify the econ­omy.’’

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