Alberta Weighs Its Policy Choices and Duty to Future Generations
An article in the Globe and Mail this week looks at the tough decisions Alberta faces as it tries to balance a “cratering economy” against the need to “burnish the province’s tawdry environmental image.”
The Globe says the debate is on within the government of Premier Rachel Notley on whether to move slowly on reforms that would still be historic, or seize a “rare opportunity to bring in bold, progressive amendments that would gain the province much-needed international environmental cred and help the economy in the future.”
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Andrew Leach, chair of a provincial advisory panel on climate change, told Mason there “isn’t a panacea” to address the province’s predicament. “Understanding the consequences of our policies, getting that cost-benefit analysis right, those are the most difficult parts of our challenge.”
Mason reports that the government is grappling with a key question: Whether the benefits of Alberta’s oil wealth should be distributed today or saved for the benefit of future generations.
“Most Albertans would say the answer to that question is obvious: It’s the obligation of current generations to leave the province in as good—or better—shape for future cohorts as it is in now,” he writes.
“And yet when it comes to oil sands development and its impact on the environment, there were few inroads made in the past 40-plus years of Progressive Conservative rule to make a transition to a lower-carbon economy. This is what Notley and her government are talking about doing, and it has the petroleum industry petrified.”