Alberta government dedicates $176M in emissions reduction projects through TIER fund

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Premier Jason Kenney announced new initiatives Monday to reduce Alberta's carbon emissions. (Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta - image credit)
Premier Jason Kenney announced new initiatives Monday to reduce Alberta's carbon emissions. (Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta - image credit)

The Alberta government is providing $176 million for 16 emission-reducing projects, with the hope it will cut seven million tonnes of green house gas emissions by 2030.

The announcement comes a day after the United Nations climate summit formally opened in Glasgow, kicking off two weeks of intense diplomatic negotiations on how to tackle global warming.

Premier Jason Kenney said at a press conference Monday the projects will be funded partly by the federal government's Low Carbon Economy Leadership Fund and the province's Technology Innovation and Emissions Reduction (TIER) system.

Alberta's TIER fund takes a levy from large industrial emitters, such as oil and gas companies, and then funds projects that feature innovation in clean energy.

In a release, the province says $126 million of that fund will be delivered through the Emissions Reduction Alberta's Shovel-Ready Challenge.

This will prioritize companies at a "mature stage of development" so they can create jobs and cut emissions quickly.

"We believe the path forward to address the climate challenge is not punishing people for living normal lives but rather investing in technology that can make a huge difference," Kenney said.

"We aren't just talking about reducing emissions. We are acting to actually reduce emissions."

Kenney says the new funding should support around 5,600 jobs and invest $2 billion into the economy.

"Alberta is quickly becoming a hub for these projects, like the historical investment from Dow Chemicals announced last month that will use carbon capture for the world's first zero-emission ethylene derivatives complex on the face of the earth," he said.

Other projects include a hydrogen plant in Edmonton, a soil reuse facility in Calgary and carbon nanotube technology that prevents emissions from entering the atmosphere, according to a release.

The premier says the amount of emissions these projects are capable of reducing is the equivalent of the electricity used by a million homes.

"Together, we see the results of our homegrown, made-in-Alberta approach to lowering carbon emissions, practical innovations that protect the environment in tangible and measurable ways. Technology, not taxes," Kenney said.

He has also promised an updated climate policy for Alberta in the coming weeks.

Canada caps oil and gas emissions

At the COP26 summit in Glasgow on Monday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that Canada will impose a hard cap on emissions from the oil and gas sector.

"We'll cap oil and gas sector emissions today and ensure they decrease tomorrow at a pace and scale needed to reach net-zero by 2050," Trudeau said during his two-minute speech in front of other world leaders gathered in Scotland.

"That's no small task for a major oil and gas producing country. It's a big step that's absolutely necessary."

Kenney says he's confused why the federal government would make such an announcement without talking to Alberta first.

"We will vigorously defend the economic interests of Alberta, including the right to develop our own natural resources, and to do so in a responsible way, while also seeking significantly to reduce carbon emissions," he said.

"That is our commitment [and] we're demonstrating that with today's investment."

In 2019, Canada's oil and gas sector accounted for 191 megatonnes of greenhouse gas emissions — 26 per cent of the country's total emissions. The country's second largest source of emissions is the transport sector, which emitted 186 megatonnes.

Alberta's Official Opposition, the New Democratic Party, says the UCP government skipping COP26 means there's no one at the table to tell Alberta's story.

"Why would the UCP choose to not only stay home but also to discredit the very conversations occurring, especially when Alberta companies like Suncor, Capital Power and TransAlta are there and actively taking part?" said Rachel Notley, leader of the NDP, in a release.

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