CCS important part of Alberta’s climate change strategy

Environment Minister Robin Campbell

Robin Campbell, Alberta’s Minister of Environment and Sustainable Resource Development (AESRD), said carbon capture and storage is an important part of a three-pronged approach the province is taking to managing carbon emissions.

Campbell made the remarks at Carbon Management Canada’s workshop, titled “Key Issues in the Design of Carbon Management Policies and Regulations in Alberta”, which was held in Calgary on January 27 and 28, 2014. The minister opened the invitation-only event by outlining Alberta’s key emissions reduction policy issues to close to 100 researchers and government and industry stakeholders in attendance.

Along with CCS, Campell noted energy efficiency and cleaner energy production are also key parts of the province’s climate change strategy. He spoke at length about the current Specified Gas Emitters Regulations (SGER), due to expire in September of this year and currently under review. The SGER imposes a $15 a tonne levy on large emitters (100,000 tonnes of CO2/year) who fail to reduce their emissions intensity by 12 per cent below baseline levels.

Emissions levy may change

The province, said Campbell, is considering if this price should be adjusted. In his remarks, Campbell noted while a higher carbon price on carbon might lead to greater reductions, it could also reduce Alberta’s competitiveness and impede future investment and growth. Finding the right balance means pricing carbon so that it meets both economic and social licence objectives.

It’s also looking at the 12 percent intensity reduction policy for all industries emissions over 100,000 tonnes of CO2 per year. While this level has resulted in a reduction of 7 Mt of carbon per year, the province may change the SGER to bring in emitters that currently fall below the threshold of 100,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions per year. It all depends, said Campbell, on what value that change would bring to the program.

Wide range of speakers

Other speakers at the two-day meeting were Justin Wheler, AESRD Climate Change Specialist, Randall Wigle, Economics Professor from the Balsillie School of International Affairs and School of Business and Economics at Wilfrid Laurier University, Paula McGarrigle, Managing Director Solas Energy Consulting, Janet Peace, Vice President, Markets and Business Strategy at the Centre for Climate and Energy Solutions, Christine Schuh, President le-ef Consulting, and Andrew Leach, Alberta School of Business, University of Alberta . A wide range of topics were covered by the speakers including carbon offsets, cogeneration, and the social costs of developing unconventional fossil fuel resources.

Anita Arduini, CMC Program Director who worked with co-chairs University of Calgary Law Professor Nigel Bankes and retired Economics Professor Elizabeth Wilman to organize the conference, was pleased with the outcomes.

“The purpose of the conference was to contribute to the SGER review process by hosting an event at which important, relevant topics were discussed. I think we achieved that. Not only were our topics and speakers relevant, we had lively discussions representing views from many sectors including those of  several government representatives in attendance,” said Arduini.

Workshop sponsors

The conference was supported by Carbon Management Canada with funds from the federal Network of Centres of Excellence and the Alberta government. Several industry sponsors also contributed including Capital Power, Cenovus Energy, the Climate Change and Emissions Management Corporation, Nova Chemicals, Suncor, TransCanada and the Enbridge Centre for Corporate Sustainability at the University of Calgary.

“I think this level of support from the community shows how important this issue is,” said Arduini. “People are concerned about increasing carbon emissions and want to be involved in setting policies that are effective, efficient and viable.”

Papers presented at the conference are not available to the public.

For further reading:

Remarks by Minister Robin Campbell

Calgary Herald coverage