March 31, 2016
EDMONTON — The Coal Association of Canada officially launched ACT for the Future today, a campaign aimed at protecting Alberta’s coal communities and advocating for Alberta’s electricity consumers.
“We’ve been traveling across Alberta this past month, talking to Albertans about the impacts of the government’s proposed Plan and one theme emerged— Albertans are willing to do their part to address climate change, but not on the backs of communities, workers and their families,” said Robin Campbell, President of the Coal Association of Canada. “Albertans are resourceful people, but overwhelmingly, people we’ve talked to believe there has to be balance and fairness, and a more thoughtful transition. Shuttering an industry that supports small towns within a two to 15 year window is just not fair.”
The ACT for the Future team has been conducting public information sessions on the impact of the Climate Leadership Plan and asking for feedback from communities on how the proposed changes would affect quality of life, community viability and business investment. Communities visited to date include Grande Cache, Edson, Warburg, Wabamun, Stony Plain, Forestburg, Hanna, Rocky Mountain House and Crowsnest Pass. While the early sessions are complete, ACT for the Future will try to visit any community that requests a presentation.
Coal generates over 50 percent of Alberta’s electricity and the Climate Leadership Plan proposes replacing two-thirds of Alberta’s current coal-fired generation capacity with renewables and one-third with natural gas by 2030. The government also plans to impose a new carbon tax of $$20/tonne in 2017 and $30/tonne of CO2 emissions in 2018 that will impact the lifestyles of all Albertans. Details of how the $2.5 to $3 billion raised by the tax will be used remain as uncertain as the government’s assurance of offsets for consumers and impacted municipalities.
Campbell acknowledges that it was necessary for the government to have a climate plan in place before attending COP21 in Paris last December, but points out that it has not provided any details since the November announcement. This leaves a lot of unanswered questions about the unintended consequences of the plan, such as how municipalities will replace their reduced tax bases and address increased operating costs, how workers will be retrained, and what steps will be put in place to ensure Albertans have reliable and affordable electricity. Most important, the government has not revealed the calculations that led to its assurances of “minimal impact.”
“Alberta can be a real leader when it comes to climate change technology,” says Campbell. ”Large industrial CO2 emitters have been paying into a fund established by the Climate Change and Emissions Management Act nine years ago. None of that has been invested into clean coal technology, which we are seeing as increasingly viable. As well, while the key role to be played by carbon capture and storage technologies was acknowledged at the Paris meetings, our government appears unwilling to build on the success of investments here in Alberta.”
“Alberta could develop, patent and sell technology developed here to the really large global emitters like China and India, where coal is going to continue to be used for decades. That’s real climate leadership, and it creates jobs and opportunities for Albertans.”
ACT for the Future and the Coal Association of Canada are funded by the membership, including mining companies, shippers, unions, miners and the municipalities supported by mining.
Also available: ACT Backgrounder
Director of Communications and Media Relations
Coal Association of Canada
o. (780) 757-9488
c. (780) 903-5752