Maybe Alberta should rethink
So Premier Stelmach's blood pressure is up over the "Rethink Alberta" ad campaign. My question is, What did he expect? My personal involvement with the government of Alberta goes back to the National Process on Climate Change in 1998-99.
The goal was to come up with a plan to reduce Canada's greenhouse gas emissions by bringing together experts and government representatives from the provinces and territories. Alberta was the co-chair.
Five hundred people worked for two years developing ideas for a national plan. Alberta was a leading participant until crunch time, when talk was supposed to turn into action. The federal government presented a draft plan – a plan that gave special consideration to Alberta's oil and gas industry. Yet the Alberta government walked away from the table, resigning as co-chair. Polls at the time indicated the majority of Albertans supported action on climate change.
A few years back, Alberta held its own hearings on the tar sands. Even Peter Lougheed, who cut the original tar sands deals in the 70s, urged a rethink of rapid expansion. The minority report from the hearings called for a moratorium.
Alberta likes to brag it was the first jurisdiction to require reporting of greenhouse gases and the first to regulate. Both
statements are true, but it’s all doublespeak right out of 1984. Because the Alberta government picked an emissions target out of thin air, their regulations allowed emissions to grow year after year. All the while, the government could claim a reduction.
I think what irks me most is reading speeches by a succession of Alberta environment ministers supporting the oil industry and the tar sands. I had hoped there would be at least one voice at the cabinet table standing up for the planet.
There have been numerous opportunities for the Alberta government to do the right thing over the years, but in the face of potentially catastrophic climate change, massive air and water pollution and an incredible industrial accident rate, it has always opted for unbridled tar sands expansion.
Environmentalists and scientists have tried every reasonable approach and provided facts, figures and evidence to no avail.
Sierra Club Canada
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