Media releases | March 05, 2024

EDMONTON - Public Interest Alberta is calling on the provincial government to amend its budget and invest in climate mitigation and adaptation. The provincial government’s proposed budget lacks any real investment in climate adaptation and mitigation to keep people safe and healthy, and protect agricultural lands and ecosystems. While other provinces, like British Columbia, have spent the past several years developing strategies for climate adaptation and mitigation, Alberta has instead cut funding to piecemeal projects and neglected to convene resources in an overall government strategy.

“This is a climate denial budget, and we are calling on the government to reverse course by developing a fully-funded climate adaptation and mitigation strategy,” said Bradley Lafortune, Executive Director of Public Interest Alberta. “With the threats of record drought, wildfires, higher summer temperatures, and severe impacts on agriculture production, this government must recognize the climate crisis and invest in the future.”

As it currently stands, there is only $11 million in the budget estimated to be dedicated to “climate resilience projects”, and there is no overall strategy to address the human, environmental, agricultural, and economic impacts of the climate crisis in Alberta. In British Columbia, the provincial government passed a strategy in 2021 to cover 2022-2025, which included $500M in investments, to build safe and healthy communities, protect species and the land, and build a climate resilient economy and infrastructure. 

The newly-introduced provincial budget proposes $273 million for unproven Carbon Capture and Storage projects and “innovation”, but invests just $11M for climate resilience projects. With climate change already significantly impacting people, the environment, food systems, and wildlife, this disparity in investment is irresponsible and harmful.

Climate change is already affecting Albertans and the lands we live on with warmer temperatures in all seasons, more intense and frequent weather events, changes in growing seasons for crops and gardens and shifting geography for productive crops, increased drought, more and bigger wildfires, loss of wildlife and wildlife habitat, and loss of snowpack and glaciers.

“Essentially the government currently has their head in the sand when it comes to climate change and its impacts,” said Lafortune. “Albertans want to know they can count on a healthy environment, at home and across the province, for themselves and their families. That’s why we are calling today for a massive investment to develop Alberta’s first Climate Adaptation and Mitigation Strategy.” 

The Alberta government should look to the Climate Adaptation and Mitigation Strategy developed by British Columbia and the federal National Adaptation Strategy to develop a comprehensive plan. The strategy must include, but not be limited to, the following proposals:  

  • Maximum temperatures regulations in all seniors and continuing care living facilities and investments in upgrades to ensure liveable and comfortable temperatures for Albertans.
  • A capital fund to invest in energy efficiency builds and retrofits in infrastructure, including public transportation, in our cities, towns and rural areas.
  • A disaster mitigation and adaptation fund.
  • Climate resilient codes and standards within Occupational Health and Safety, Employment standards, and Alberta Health regulations and policy.
  • A strategy to Protect and expand existing wetlands.
  • Enhanced climate data and forecasting and enhanced oil sands monitoring and reporting
  • New and deepened nation-to-nation relationships and agreements with Indigenous communities and nations to develop knowledge and strategies for climate action and response.