Opinion: Throne speech represents existential threat to Alberta’s energy transformation

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With these unrealistic goals, even more draconian interventions will be required and should be expected, such as applying national fuel standards that will ultimately prevent Canadians from using their own domestically produced oil in their own refineries and eliminating the potential of hydrocarbon production for export.

Achieving net-zero emissions requires a fundamental change of our energy systems, with incremental expenditure of likely hundreds of billions of dollars, leading to reduced GDP over the short and medium term. The government needs to be transparent with all Canadians about the costs of what it is proposing to do — costs that are not just incremental new investments, but also the opportunity cost of lost hydrocarbon export opportunities.

Obviously, much of the cost burden will be imposed on Alberta. But curiously, the throne speech does not choose to acknowledge that reality.

Climate change is real. The increase in atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases is man-made. It requires a global co-ordinated policy response. But it is a risk that must be dealt with through intelligence while balancing all relevant considerations. That is especially true for Canada.

Canada contributes less than two per cent of global carbon emissions, with very few “cheap” emissions reductions opportunities, unlike some of its major trading partners. It substantially decarbonized its electric generation sector long before it ever got credit for that from the UN climate process, whose measures continue to be especially punitive to Canada.

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