March 3, 2022

Low-Carbon Industrial Strategy charts realistic pathway to Paris targets for Alberta

New in-depth report recommends over 50 policy actions to reduce carbon and grow the economy

CALGARY, ALBERTA—Today the Business Council of Alberta releases From Outsized Emissions to Outsized Opportunities: Policies to Support an Alberta Low-Carbon Industrial Strategy, a new paper that outlines a detailed set of policy recommendations that will not only allow Alberta to make a significant contribution to Canada’s net zero ambitions, but do so in a way that positions Alberta’s industrial and agriculture sectors as the preferred global suppliers of low-carbon products and climate solutions. The report was developed by Alberta business and Indigenous leaders through the Council’s Energy and Environment Committee and stakeholder input.

“The core message of this report is that Canada’s pathway to net zero runs straight through Alberta,” says Al Reid, Director Oilsands Pathways to Net-Zero Initiative and Chair of the committee. “Alberta businesses are on board to build the low carbon future and pathways to net zero that Canadians collectively want. Companies are already investing significantly in projects and technology to build this future. To achieve our goals, we need the right policy environment; and we need government and business working together. We have to set up the conditions for success.”

This strategy outlines a plan to:

    1. Significantly reduce both domestic and global emissions.
    2. Create new technology Canada can export to the world.
    3. Maximize Alberta’s potential and build a prosperous and sustainable low-carbon future for all Canadians.

    “First Nations communities have a deep and unending relationship to the land,” says Dale Swampy, President, National Coalition of Chiefs and committee member. “Our people will be here long after major development projects have come and gone. We support Canada’s natural resource industries because we want to ensure that our ancestral territories are protected and reclaimed to their original status, and we want to participate in the prosperity the comes from natural resource development. The three goals of the Low Carbon Industrial Strategy report ensure that First Nation concerns are met,” says Swampy.

    The report notes Canada needs to deploy substantially more investment to reach its 2030 and 2050 targets. Current spending levels are at a fraction of where they need to be to achieve Canada’s climate goals.

    Canada needs to innovate and invest at both greater speed and scale to reduce carbon emissions and create the pathways to net zero,” says Adam Legge, President of the Business Council of Alberta. “This Low-Carbon Industrial Strategy is the plan to decarbonize Alberta’s industry, reduce emissions at home and around the world, and build greater partnerships with Indigenous communities, while creating new technology and greater prosperity,” says Legge.

    Alberta has a unique industrial structure and will need a tailored approach to climate policy. One size policy for all Canada will not work. Seventy-seven percent of Alberta’s emission are from industrial and agriculture sectors. These are emissions that occur in Alberta but are often a result of needs and benefits elsewhere.

    “The federal government has asked industry to come up with tailored plans to meet our Paris commitments and create a pathway to net zero. This is the strategic plan for Alberta industry and agriculture to do just that,” says Legge. “You need to provide plenty of water to the area of your garden you expect to grow the most food. Similarly, federal carbon-reduction investments should be focused on Alberta.”

    The report recommends over 50 policy actions to reduce carbon and grow the economy. Top highlights include:

    • Indigenous individuals and communities as full participants in the opportunities afforded by decarbonization efforts
    • Aligning Alberta’s carbon pricing with the federal government’s and agreeing on an escalator going forward
    • The Alberta government sending a clear public signal that: it is committed to dramatically lowering GHG emissions; it supports Canada’s net zero ambitions; and it will focus its policy efforts on decarbonization, clean technology, and clean energy solutions.  And the federal government sending a clear public signal that it stands behind Alberta’s energy sector and will support and defend its decarbonization efforts.
    • Establishing international carbon offset markets either under Paris Article 6, or through bilateral or multilateral agreements
    • Developing Edmonton and region as Canada’s first major hydrogen hub
    • A “regulatory Nexus card” for fast-track project approval times
    • Adopting emissions intensity-based GHG reduction metrics for farming activities
    • Canada committing a large pool of grant money for building carbon capture and transportation infrastructure 

    The report also uses examples from comparable countries like Norway and the Netherlands to show how they are decarbonizing heavy industrial sectors, and how Canada and Alberta can succeed with similar strategies.

    This province has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Alberta’s industrial and agriculture sectors are ready to seize the moment, but an all-of-government commitment to implementing the elements of an Alberta Low-Carbon Industrial Strategy is required.

    The time for contemplating action is over. If Canada is to achieve its 2030 and 2050 goals, collective action needs to start today.

    This paper is the second in a two-part series. The first background paper can be found here:

    Energy and Environment Committee Members
    • Al Reid (Chair), Director, Oil Sands Pathways to Net Zero Initiative
    • Allan Bush, Chief Operating Officer, Tourmaline Oil
    • Brian Newmarch, Vice President, Sustainability, ARC Resources
    • Bill Clapperton, Vice President, Regulatory, Stakeholder and Environmental Affairs, CNRL
    • Bob Klager, Head, Corporate Relations Canada, Shell
    • Byron Neiles, Executive Vice President, Corporate Services, Enbridge
    • Chris Grant, Vice President, Regional Development, Suncor
    • Chris Slubicki, Former President & CEO, Modern Resources; Corporate Director, Business Council of Alberta
    • Dale Swampy, President, National Coalition of Chiefs
    • David Lye, Vice President, Government Relations Canada & Sustainability, Ovintiv
    • Dave Tiley, Director, Public Equities, AIMCo
    • Derek Evans, President & CEO, MEG Energy
    • Hal Kvisle, Past Chair, Business Council of Alberta
    • Mac Van Wielingen, Founder & Chair, Viewpoint Group; Founder & Partner, ARC Financial
    • Nancy Smith, Director, ARC Financial
    • Patrick Keys, Executive Vice-President and General Counsel, TC Energy


    About the Business Council of Alberta. The Business Council of Alberta is a non-partisan, for-purpose organization dedicated to building a better Alberta within a more dynamic Canada. Composed of the chief executives and leading entrepreneurs of the province’s largest enterprises, Council members are proud to represent the majority of Alberta’s private sector investment, job creation, exports, and research and development. The Council is committed to working with leaders and stakeholders across Alberta and Canada in proposing bold and innovative public policy solutions and initiatives that will make life better for Albertans.

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