As Alberta struggles with its most devastating recession ever, a new study highlights why different climate change policy choices made by Canada and the United States point to continued hardship for Canada’s top oil producing province.
The two trading partners are focusing on different areas for GHG reductions and are using different policy tools because of their unique resource endowments, geography, climate, history and politics, according to the study by IHS Energy, led by Kevin Birn.
In the U.S., the front line is power generation from coal, because that is its largest source of emissions. In Canada, the bull’s eye is on oil and gas, and particularly the oilsands.
The upshot is that the policies go easy on and even benefit the U.S. oilpatch because of the key role played by shale gas, and come down hard on the Canadian oilpatch, heavily concentrated in a single province, Alberta.
“This is a concern for Canada’s large oil and gas sector, which competes globally for investment and export markets,” says the newly released report. “Unilateral climate policy adds cost that could move investment, activity, and associated emissions from Canada to regions with less-stringent policies, with little or no net reduction in global emissions.”
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