World News

Smith Criticizes Ottawa’s ‘Restrictive’ Emissions Reduction Policies before Meetings

OTTAWA—Alberta Premier Danielle Smith says the federal government’s greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets amount to a “shut-in policy” for her province’s energy sector, adding she hopes her meetings in Ottawa this week will be collaborative.

“When you have an unachievable and unrealistic time frame, it’s not an emissions reduction policy, it’s a shut-in policy,” Ms. Smith told reporters during a Feb. 5 press conference in Ottawa. “It’s a policy demand that would require us to shut in our production, and we’re just simply not going to do that.”

Ottawa’s cap on greenhouse gas emissions from the oil and gas industry aims to cut emissions in the sector by at least one-third by 2030 as part of its goal to reach net-zero status by 2050. The regulations will be in the form of a cap-and-trade system to allow companies to buy offset credits or contribute to a “decarbonization fund” that lowers the reduction requirement to 20 to 23 percent.

Ms. Smith previously reacted to that announcement by calling it an “intentional attack” on Alberta’s economy, and pledged to develop a “constitutional shield” in response.

During her visit to Ottawa on Feb. 5, Ms. Smith said she will be meeting with several federal ministers to discuss various aspects of Alberta’s energy sector, such as establishing a framework for small modular nuclear reactors, building hydrogen energy infrastructure, and supporting ammonia exports to Japan through the port of Prince Rupert.

The Alberta premier also said she would discuss with ministers ways for her province to achieve carbon neutrality by the year 2050, which she said was more achievable than the “sped-up timeline” the federal government had offered. She said Ottawa’s policy demands on greenhouse gas reduction are “unconstitutional” and she would not abide by them. Ms. Smith has argued that Alberta has a constitutional right to own and develop its own resources how it sees fit.

Formal Response to Emissions Cap

Also on Feb. 5, Alberta released its official response to the federal oil and gas emissions cap, saying it is “not realistic and effective,” and that it “will not be tolerated in Alberta.”

Alberta Environment Minister Rebecca Schulz has asked Ottawa to back the province in the implementation of its own plan to achieve carbon neutrality rather than imposing the proposed federal oil and gas emissions cap.

Ms. Schulz, who is in Ottawa today to meet with federal Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault, says Alberta’s plan would ensure that the province’s energy sources wouldn’t be compromised—something that she has said would happen under the federal government’s cap-and-trade system.

Related Stories

“Alberta aspires to achieve a carbon neutral economy without compromising affordable, reliable, and secure energy for Alberta, Canada and the world,” she wrote in a letter to Mr. Guilbeault.

“We invite you to join us in implementing our Emissions Reduction and Energy Development Plan to achieve carbon neutrality while continuing the development of Alberta’s world-class natural energy resources for Canada and the world.”

The letter, which Ms. Schulz posted on social media on Feb. 5, said the federal government’s proposed cap would not only hurt Alberta’s economy, but the economy of Canada as a whole.

“It will undercut Canada’s competitiveness and drastically reduce investments in clean technologies like carbon capture, which are critical to meaningfully reducing emissions in the coming years,” Ms. Schulz wrote.

She also said the federal program would lead to “carbon leakage,” causing greenhouse gas emissions to increase in other countries “with less robust environmental and human rights standards.”

Renewed Calls to Replace Environment Minister

Ms. Smith told reporters that while she had good relations with some federal ministers, including Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne, she had not had a constructive relationship with Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault.

“He’s demonstrated that he’s an ideologue, he doesn’t listen, he doesn’t honor the Constitution, he ignores court judgments, and he continues barreling ahead even though his actions are illegal,” she said.

Ms. Smith reiterated her calls for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to replace Mr. Guilbeault with another environment minister in order to “reset our relationship.” She added that Mr. Guilbeault was causing both “national unity problems” and issues for the Liberals’ popularity in the polls.

Back in December 2023, Ms. Smith called Mr. Guilbeault a “menace” following Ottawa’s announcement of the regulatory framework to cap oil and gas emissions. “The attitude that Minister Guilbeault has taken toward our province is absolutely unacceptable,” Ms. Smith said.

Smith Asks to Appear Before Natural Resources Committee

Ms. Smith was asked by reporters whether she would extend the province’s six-month moratorium on approving new clean energy projects, which is set to expire on Feb. 29. Ms. Smith responded that she would not extend the deadline, adding she would give “clarity” to the renewable energy sector because “we are the destination for solar and wind investment in the country.”

Back in August 2023, the Alberta government announced a moratorium on approvals for all wind, solar and geothermal projects greater than one megawatt. Government officials initially said the pause was made after a request by rural municipalities and the Alberta Utilities Commission, but when it was revealed they had not made any such requests, the government said the move was made over concerns about the destruction of “pristine viewscapes.”

One clean energy think tank, the Pembina Institute, had estimated that Alberta’s pause on approvals for new renewable energy projects was impacting 118 projects worth $33 billion.

The Alberta premier also told reporters that she had accepted an invitation by Liberal MP George Chahal to appear before the Natural Resources committee. The Calgary MP, who chairs the committee, had asked Ms. Smith to testify on “why she’s stranded $33 billion in renewables projects as our province struggles to keep the lights on.”

“I would just like to accept that invitation if they happen to finish their business today. I know they have a packed schedule, but I’d be delighted to join them. I do have time in my calendar, so my phone is on,” Ms. Smith said.

Source link


I'm TruthUSA, the author behind TruthUSA News Hub located at With our One Story at a Time," my aim is to provide you with unbiased and comprehensive news coverage. I dive deep into the latest happenings in the US and global events, and bring you objective stories sourced from reputable sources. My goal is to keep you informed and enlightened, ensuring you have access to the truth. Stay tuned to TruthUSA News Hub to discover the reality behind the headlines and gain a well-rounded perspective on the world.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.