“We will continue to have a strong economy while meeting the 2020 [climate] targets … and we will meet those.”
It was a bewildering statement, like something out of a poorly scripted political drama. The idea that within the next five years, Alberta — the province responsible for over 35 per cent of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions in 2012 — would meet its emissions targets would be laughable if it weren’t so pathetic.
But that’s what was said.
And by Diana McQueen, a former minister of environment, no less. By the very person who’s now leading the revision of the province’s oft-delayed climate change framework.
Back in 2008, the Alberta government, then headed by Progressive Conservative leader Ed Stelmach, brought forward a fairly weighty climate change strategy. Goals were set, policies outlined.
“Our targets,” wrote Stelmach, “are based on sound research not wishful thinking.”
The strategy promised that by 2020, the province’s annual emissions would fall by 50 megatonnes below “business-as-usual” numbers — in 2008, that number was 232 megatonnes per year.
But according to Environment Canada’s most recent projections for emissions, Alberta’s annual output will instead grow to 287 megatonnes a year — an overall increase of 55 megatonnes, which means that the target (a 12 per cent increase from the 2005 number) will be missed by a full 27 Mt.