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But if heavy emitters are going to pay, they want consumers to share the burden
The biggest players in Canada’s oil and gas industry are urging Alberta’s government to step up its environmental policies and introduce a carbon tax.
Alberta already has carbon pricing, but the program is limited and it will expire in the next few months.
Suncor CEO Steve Williams told a crowd in downtown Calgary on Friday that change is needed in Alberta to improve Canada’s global reputation.
“We’re trying to move Canada to a position of leadership, that’s not how we are viewed around the world at the moment. We are viewed to be quite the opposite,” said Williams.
- How Canada’s provinces are tackling greenhouse gas emissions
- Rising carbon emissions from oilsands a ‘unique’ challenge, federal cabinet told
Suncor, along with fellow Canadian energy company Cenovus, says the time is right for Alberta to address its environmental policies. But they also say if the province adopts a carbon tax, it should be broad based and apply to everyone.
That includes consumers. The idea is that industry will pay a carbon tax, but so too will the average person. That would include having to pay extra at the pumps and on their natural gas and electricity utility bills.
“Absolutely,” said Williams. “A realization by the consumer is really important because if you want energy efficiency, if you want people to change their behaviours and affect the demand side, you have to get to those users.”
Alberta’s next premier, Rachel Notley, will be sworn in this weekend. She’s already facing pressure to address the province’s carbon emissions. Alberta produces 36 per cent of Canada’s total emissions.
The Billings Gazette has revealed that coal mining company Cloudpeak Energy ghost wrote protest letters to the U.S.Department of Interior (DOI) on behalf of allied policymakers and business groups.
Reporter Tom Lutey examined numerous letters written to DOI from Montana-based stakeholders and noticed something unusual: the language in every single letter was exactly the same. That is, the same except for a parenthetical note in one of them instructing the supposed writer of it to “insert name/group/entity.”
The “carbon copied” (pun credit goes to Lutey) letters requested for theDOI to give states a time extension to begin implementing new rules dictating the coal industry give states a “fair return” on mining leases granted to industry by the states. DOI ended up giving King Coal the 60-day extension.
“Last month, coal proponents scored a major victory by convincing the Department of Interior to hold off on its rule making for 60 days so that more people could respond,” Lutey wrote. “Members of the Montana Legislature, along with county commissioners and mayors from Montana and Wyoming communities put the weight of their political offices behind letters asking the DOI for more time. What they didn’t offer were their own words.”
Among those who submitted a “carbon copied” letter originally written by Cloudpeak Energy include the Montana Chamber of Commerce, Billings Chamber of Commerce, Montana Coal Council, Montana Sen. Debby Barrett and the Yellowstone County Board of Commissioners.
Unlike others, the Montana Chamber of Commerce embarassingly forgot to take out the boilerplate “insert name/group/entity” language.
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