Canada’s climate-alarmist Liberal government has moved to propose a punitive 2030 cap on oil and gas production — earning the ire of Alberta Premier Danielle Smith.
By 2030, the feds hope to cut oil and gas emissions by 35% to 38% from 2019 levels. Those who buy offset credits or contribute to a decarbonization fund would lower their target to between 20% and 23%.
Though the cap-and-trade proposal mandates a less daunting emissions target than initially estimated in its emissions reduction plan last year, Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault said the compromise came after extensive consultation with industry and other stakeholders to ensure its aims are achievable.
Oil and gas production accounts for more than one-quarter of Canada's emissions with a cap critical to meeting their climate targets, according to Guilbeault.
However, Smith does not see it the same way as the federal climate czar.
On Thursday, the premier accused Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his 'eco-extremist minister' Guilbeault of singling out the oil and gas sector alone for punitive federal treatment.
"[The] de facto production cap on Alberta's oil and gas sector amounts to an intentional attack by the federal government on the economy of Alberta," said Smith. "They're devaluing the retirement investments of millions of Canadians and they're threatening the jobs of hundreds of thousands of Albertans," she added.
Thursday’s announcement reflects a 2021 election campaign promise that is more than a year behind the schedule, according to the climate czar.
The feds published the regulatory framework with a commitment to launch draft regulations next spring and implement the final regulations by 2025.
However, Smith called it a frivolous attempt to undermine "the unity of our country" that Albertans would not tolerate.
"Are you taking the federal government to court in regard to these regulations?" asked a reporter. "Well, there's no question that if they continue on this path, it will end up in court," she replied. "And in court, I think we will win."
Smith said her cabinet and caucus would do everything in its power to put up "constitutional shields" that protect Alberta’s commitment to attract investment and achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.
"We've been responsible by setting a price on carbon as far back as 2007, developing a carbon offset and trading program, investing billions in commercial-scale carbon capture utilization and storage, and creating an innovation fund that has so far supported more than 260 emissions-reducing projects with $2.6 billion worth of grants," she said.
"They're expecting that we're going to achieve a 75% methane emission reduction target by 2030," noted Smith, calling the proposal "wildly optimistic."
The federal government lost two federal court cases earlier this year, citing intrusion into provincial jurisdiction via Bill C-69 and the plastics ban. According to the Canadian Press, Guilbeault noted his government would not risk losing to a constitutional challenge on the environment over jurisdiction.
"I would ask them to read the court decisions again," said the premier. "You cannot come to an international conference and drop two unilateral policies in our jurisdiction out of the blue without an agreement."
"This is not cooperative federalism," she added. However, Guilbeault ignored the criticism and lauded the proposal as "historical in the Canadian [and] international context."
"We've never put in place regulations in Canada that would ensure that the oil and gas sector reduce its overall emissions," he said. "We've never done that."
In her address to the media, Smith suggested the federal antics de-incentivized capital investment into emission reduction efforts by the province.
"The federal government must stay out of our province's constitutional jurisdiction and instead work with us to align our emissions reduction efforts with our effective made-in-Alberta plan," she said, maintaining her approach to practical emission offsets can work congruently with developing its energy resources.