When the Alberta government released its Climate Leadership plan in November 2015, I said that Premier Rachel Notley and Environment and Parks Minister Shannon Phillips had made pigs fly by uniting a coalition of industry leaders and environmental leaders in our province.
Defying expectations, or making pigs fly, might be a strength of Ms. Phillips. Today she brought together another impressive coalition of municipal, industry and environmental leaders to support Bill 20: The Climate Leadership Implementation Act (see list below).
Bill 20 would legislate Alberta’s carbon levy and carbon levy rebate, ensure revenue from the carbon levy is invested in addressing climate change, and establish Energy Efficiency Alberta. As economist and Climate Change Panel chairman Andrew Leach pointed out on Twitter today, carbon pricing has wide support from economists from N. Gregory Mankiw to Paul Krugman.
Since the Climate Leadership Plan was released last year, we have seen groups like Norquest College and non-profits like Iron & Earth step up to help with the transition to renewable energy.
After years of inaction by the old Progressive Conservative government, it is refreshing to have a government that believes in climate change and has actually presented a policy to address it.
The Alberta NDP’s climate change plan defies supporters of the much-maligned LEAP Manifesto, which was spearheaded by more radical elements of the federal NDP at that party’s recent convention in Edmonton. By defying the LEAPers, Ms. Phillips and Ms. Notley are demonstrating a clear difference between an NDP government that takes action and an NDP opposition that just talks big.
Bill 20 will spark some interesting debate on the floor of the Alberta Legislature.
Ms. Notley has fended off the radical environmentalists in her party and presented a sensible policy and bill. How will the opposition respond?
Alberta Party leader Greg Clark responded with a list of questions that I expect he will ask Ms. Phillips during debate.
Wildrose Party finance critic Derek Fildebrandt fell into predictable Canadian Taxpayer Federation hysteria, describing the carbon levy as “an assault on taxpayers and families.”
Wildrose MLAs will likely focus their energy attacking the carbon levy and calling for more oil pipelines, but will the official opposition defy the radical climate change deniers in their own ranks and present a policy alternative to the NDP’s Climate Leadership Plan? Will Brian Jean‘s Wildrose Party join the debate with a policy alternative beyond ‘we will repeal whatever the NDP does on climate change‘?
The NDP have told their radicals to take a hike. Can the Wildrose do the same?
List of supporters of Bill 20: The Climate Leadership Implementation Act
•Karen Sorensen, Mayor, Town of Banff
•John Borrowman, Mayor, Town of Canmore
•Don Iveson, Mayor, City of Edmonton
•Jesse Row, Executive Director, Alberta Energy Efficiency Alliance
•Mark Ramsankar, President, Alberta Teachers’ Association
•Scott Thon, President and CEO, AltaLink
•Peter Tertzakian, Chief Energy Economist & Managing Director, ARC Financial Corporation
•Grant Arnold, President and CEO, BluEarth Renewables
•Joe Vipond, Physician, Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment
•Robert Hornung, President, Canadian Wind Energy Association
•Michael McSweeney, President and CEO, Cement Association of Canada
•Brian Ferguson, President and CEO, Cenovus
•Kathy Bardswick, President and CEO, The Co-Operators
•Ross Hornby, Vice-President, Government Affairs and Policy, GE Canada
•Cory Basil, Vice-President of Development, EDF EN Canada Inc.
•Kevin Lecht, Business Manager, The International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers local 110 (Alberta)
•Robert Walker Vice-President, ESG Services & Ethical Funds, NEI Investments
•Ed Whittingham, Executive Director, Pembina Institute
•Rob Harlan, Executive Director, Solar Energy Society of Alberta
•Sean Collins, Co-Founder, Student Energy
•Steve Williams, Chief Executive Officer, Suncor