Society and the economy are not healthy if they are not sustainable. We must address and mitigate the harms of climate change and work to preserve and protect wildlife and natural ecosystems. The Alberta Liberal plan provides fairness for future generations by creating a sustainable Alberta.
We have eight years to prevent irreversible climate change that will irreparably harm the Alberta way of life. Alberta needs to tackle climate change by putting a price on carbon pollution that reflects its actual cost to society and nature. This market-based measure is the most effective and the most efficient approach to reducing carbon emissions.
The Alberta Liberals support the creation of a made-in-Albert, revenue-neutral carbon tax. A made-in-Alberta carbon tax will let Albertans decide how best to use the revenue generated instead of Ottawa. A revenue-neutral tax will also keep more money in the hands of Albertans instead of funding government slush funds, as we saw under the last NDP government.
Investing in Renewable Energy.
Green initiatives like renewable energy are an economic opportunity for Alberta. Alberta Liberals support creating a business and regulatory environment that allows green initiatives like renewable energy to grow and thrive. We will invest in research that helps make these projects more economical. We will provide support for industries like geothermal energy, hydrogen and lithium as needed.
Disaster Preparedness and Recovery.
As the climate warms, we will experience more extreme weather disasters, including wildfires, droughts, and floods. Alberta has a long history of dangerously underfunding Emergency Preparedness. Alberta Liberals would budget much more realistically for disaster recovery instead of relying on massive supplementary appropriations. We would budget based on a rolling average of the previous five years.
Expanding Protected Areas.
Currently, around 15% of Alberta’s natural environments are protected. We would expand protected areas to cover 30% of Alberta by 2030 and 50% by 2050. Nature needs half.
An Alberta Liberal government would work with experts, conservation non-profits and other stakeholders to strengthen our conservation policies and preserve biodiversity. For example, we support the creation of more wildlife corridors to allow for the safe movement of animals, protecting species at risk. This will be more necessary as climate change forces species to migrate.
Banning Clear Cutting.
The Alberta Liberals would ban this practice outright while working with the forestry industry to implement best practices for developing a vibrant and robust sector focused on sustainability and profitability. In addition, the practice of clear-cutting is highly damaging for ecosystems, animal life, flood protection, and tourism.
Protecting our Water Supplies.
We’re committed to a more robust conservation strategy for our water supplies and the Rocky Mountains Eastern Slopes. Our ecosystems and our well-being depend on it. Our strategy includes:
- Setting water quality and quantity as the highest priorities when considering any activities that affect water supplies.
- Funding all watershed councils to develop land-use planning documents and developing land-use plans based on their recommendations.
- Greater scrutiny of projects with large impacts on water usage.
- Implementing regulations and incentives to reduce the amount of fresh water used in fracking favouring non-potable water.
- Implementing mandatory baseline groundwater testing and public reporting for oil and gas wells where hydraulic fracturing has been used.
- Opposing interbasin water transfers in all but the most extreme circumstances.
- Banning off-highway vehicles in areas where they compromise water supplies and habitat viability.
Addressing Unfunded Reclamation Costs.
The Alberta Energy Regulator (“AER”) has estimated the long-term reclamation costs of Alberta’s oil and gas industry to be as high as $260 billion or more. Despite this, the Alberta Government has collected a mere $1.6 billion from industry to deal with this clean-up liability. That’s about 0.6% of the total bill.
To protect taxpayers, our environment, and our sustainable domestic energy industry, the Alberta Liberals are proposing an “Oil Patch Cleanup Bond” to ensure polluters pay. Additionally, we will put time limits on “suspended wells” to ensure non-producing wells aren’t left unreclaimed for decades.
Expanding Recycling Programs.
With China taking in fewer recycling products, Alberta needs a change to recycling policy, and fast! Alberta Liberals would expand electronics recycling to include small appliances and a host of other electronics that are currently ineligible for the Alberta Recycling Management Authority’s Province-Wide Electronics Recycling Program.
We would also implement Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) on select products. EPR is a recycling strategy that adds all the environmental costs of a product to its market cost.