Canada's Alberta to introduce economy-wide carbon tax in 2017

Sun Nov 22, 2015 3:00pm EST
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By Mike De Souza

CALGARY Nov 22 (Reuters) - The Canadian province of Alberta, home to the country's controversial oil sands, said on Sunday it will implement an economy-wide tax on carbon emissions in 2017, addressing long-standing criticism it is not doing enough to combat climate change.

The provincial government estimated the plan, including a pledge to phase out pollution from coal-fired electricity generation by 2030 and a limit on emissions from the province's oil sands industry, would generate C$3 billion ($2.25 billion) in annual revenue.

Backed by prominent representatives from industry and the environmental movement, Premier Rachel Notley said the province was trying to do the right thing for the future.

Notley's left-leaning New Democratic Party took power earlier this year, ending 44 years of Conservative rule.

"It will help us access new markets for our energy products, and diversify our economy with renewable energy and energy efficiency technology," Notley said in Edmonton. "Alberta is showing leadership on one of the world's biggest problems."

Alberta has the world's third largest crude reserves, but its oil sands industry is also Canada's fastest growing source of greenhouse gas emissions.

That status has prompted fierce opposition from environmental groups to proposed pipelines that would allow the industry to access new markets, including the recently rejected Keystone XL pipeline, proposed by TransCanada Corp.

U.S. President Barack Obama rejected that project on Nov. 6, explaining that "shipping dirtier crude oil" into the United States would not enhance the country's energy security.   Continued...