Premier Stelmach Fails to Deliver Action on Climate Change

Announcement Will Lead to More Delay with its "Plan to Plan"

Pembina Institute

Jan 24, 2008

The Government of Alberta unveiled its much-anticipated "green plan" today. But instead of outlining near-term targets for greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions the plan only sets a target for reducing GHG emissions by 2050.

"Premier Stelmach's announcement today is shockingly irresponsible, it continues to delay action and promises only a plan to plan. There are no short-term targets for absolute reductions in GHG pollution and no requirements for large polluters to reduce emissions," says Dan Woynillowicz, a Senior Policy Analyst with the Pembina Institute. "Alberta is the largest greenhouse gas polluter in Canada, producing close to one third of Canada's emissions. Albertans want action and Premier Stelmach is playing games by trying to dodge responsibility for delivering any real results until 2050."

Environment Minister Rob Renner was mandated by the Premier to produce a successor to Alberta's 2002 climate change plan and conducted public consultations in 2007. In these consultations Albertans overwhelmingly called for stronger government action to fight global warming, including absolute emission targets, stronger regulatory action, and the use of financial incentives and penalties.

But instead of laying out a clear action plan to reduce GHG pollution, the Government of Alberta's "green plan" simply promises more planning for things like carbon capture and storage, conservation and efficiency and clean energy technologies. Today's "green plan" also weakens the timelines for achieving absolute reductions of GHG pollution relative to the targets set in 2002. While the government's 2002 climate change plan promised to achieve absolute reductions in GHG pollution before 2020, its 2008 plan will allow emissions to continue to grow until 2020 - effectively allowing GHG pollution to increase for a longer period of time. Not only does the plan not include any substantive details about taking action, it fails to place any accountability on Premier Stelmach and his Cabinet to reduce GHG pollution in the near-term.

"Premier Stelmach clearly lacks conviction for taking action on global warming. At a time when climate scientists and international leaders are calling for deep cuts in our emissions, the Government of Alberta is choosing to entrench itself as an irresponsible laggard in Canada," says Marlo Raynolds, Executive Director of the Pembina Institute. "Other provinces and states are showing true leadership by setting targets for absolute reductions in greenhouse gas pollution and implementing effective regulations and standards. It is embarrassing that Premier Stelmach is continuing to delay real action on climate change."


Download Pembina's backgrounder: A Checklist for Alberta's Climate Change Plan: What to Look for in a Comprehensive Action Plan for Alberta to Fight Global Warming.

For more information, contact:

Dan Woynillowicz
Phone: 403-538-7782

Marlo Raynolds
Cell: 403-607-9427