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Alberta's carbon future underwent a radical regime shift in 2018 when the provincial NDP government transitioned the province from the Specified Gas Emitters Regulation ("SGER") to the Carbon Competitiveness Incentive Regulation ("CCIR"). In order to assist its clients with understanding the implications of the evolving landscape, EDCA undertook extensive research of Alberta’s core industries and published the Alberta Greenhouse Gas Multi-Client Study - a look at the current and future Greenhouse Gas environment in Alberta under a multitude of scenarios derived from NDP policy direction.

Since the original study, Alberta, and Canada’s, carbon future has rapidly evolved in some unexpected ways. Beginning January 2020, CCIR was replaced with the Technology Innovation and Emissions Reduction (“TIER”) regime. Almost one year later - December 2020 - the federal government announced that the cost of carbon would be growing to $170/t at 2030 in order to ensure Canada would meet its 2030 Paris commitment. Those provinces failing to voluntarily comply would have the $170/t forced upon them (similar to those provinces who failed to comply with the minimum floor of $30/t in 2020). Although there was question of if the federal government had jurisdiction to implement a country-wide carbon floor, in March 2021, the Supreme Court ruled in a 6-3 decision that the federal government’s carbon tax was indeed constitutional because reducing GHG emissions is of national concern. The underlying rationale for the decision was that the failure of one or more provinces to cooperate would prevent the other provinces from successfully addressing the issue (Greenhouse Gas emissions), and that a province’s failure to deal with the matter within its own borders would have grave extra-provincial consequences. As such, the cost of carbon will be accelerating in Alberta and all industries must begin to prepare for the fallout.

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