EDMONTON—Members of the Alberta Green Economy Network (AGEN), a diverse coalition of Alberta-based green businesses, labour unions, NGOs, and First Nations supporters, released the following statement in response to the government’s climate announcement:
“Today the Alberta government has taken a huge step forward,” said Joel French, with Public Interest Alberta. “This plan will not only help to slow Alberta’s rampant emissions growth, but will also allow Alberta to create good, well-paying jobs in clean industries.”
AGEN has called for a just transition to a low-carbon economy in Alberta, which means that there must be support for workers who are moving from carbon-intensive sectors into sustainable industries and that green jobs must good, stable and well-paying.
“We applaud these policies as part of the transition to a low-carbon economy, but the transition needs to be just.” said Randall Benson, owner of Gridworks Energy Group, which specializes in solar installation.“We need to support workers as they move into the green energy sector and we need to make sure that the jobs they get are good, stable, well-paying jobs. Luckily, the green economy is filled with these kinds of opportunities.”
“The strategy announced today is an huge step forward and a major victory for people and communities. With the renewable energy portfolio standard, the Alberta government can begin to harness the tremendous renewable energy potential the province has to offer. This policy alone could grow the wind industry more than six-fold what it is today,” said Mike Hudema, Climate and Energy Campaigner at Greenpeace Canada. “While the policies announced today are first steps, much bigger emission reductions will be needed to ensure Alberta does its part to keep global warming 2 degrees Celsius.”
The government’s plan will phase out coal by 2030, but includes the use of natural gas for the baseload of Alberta’s electrical grid.
“The accelerated phase out of coal will be a welcome relief to the health of families throughout Alberta, and the commitment to start harnessing Alberta’s tremendous renewable potential is commendable,” says Leon Milner, Assistant Executive Director of Solar Energy Society of Alberta. “Unfortunately, Alberta will continue to expand its natural gas electrical generation, which will only hinder our ability to meet science-based emissions targets, instead of investing more ambitiously in renewables.”
The government’s plan will grow emission until 2020, and by 2030 Alberta’s emissions will still exceed 2013 levels by 3 Mt.
“The best science from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to limit global temperature rise to 2°C or below is that global greenhouse gas emissions must fall 20-40% below 1990 levels between 2020 and 2030. As Alberta’s 1990 emissions were 175 Mt of CO2e, the target of the Alberta Government of limiting 2030 emissions to 270 Mt will exceed this target by about 50%,” says Godo Stoyke of Carbon Busters.
AGEN also urges the government to uphold and affirm its commitment to First Nation rights by allocating resources and forming direct partnerships to ensure that there is meaningful and adequate participation from First Nation and Metis communities.
“We are hopeful that this climate policy will assist in redefining the image that people have of the green energy sector, while also acknowledging that the shift toward green jobs is already happening” said Jacqueline Fayant, Métis Environmental Steward. “At the same time, the climate policy must benefit all Nations and adhere to the stewardship model of coexistence for the global world.”
BackgroundThe Alberta Green Economy Network (AGEN) brings together labour, NGO, green business and First Nations partners to advocate for policies that support a transition to a low-carbon economy.
In September, AGEN sent a submission to the province’s Climate Change Advisory Panel outlining how the province could create more than 54,000 jobs a year while lowering the carbon emissions that are putting the planet’s climate in peril.
AGEN has been advocating for the following policies as key components of any climate plan:
- Science based emission reduction targets in line with other International and provincial jurisdiction
- A target of 100% renewable energy by 2050
- An energy efficiency strategy that would employ tens of thousands of Albertans while lowering energy bills
- A price on carbon starting in 2016 at $50/tonne and rising to $120/tonne by 2025 to help fund green jobs, retro-fits and transit while supporting low income Albertans