Advice from the Advisory Committee: hope the industry doesn't hit the 100 Mt/yr ceiling
The Oil Sands Advisory Group (OSAG) released their first report this week on how to handle Alberta's looming 100 Mt/year carbon emissions ceiling for oil sands facilities.
Current emissions from the oil sands are about 70 Mt/year. Various reports have estimated the province will reach the 100 Mt limit in about 5 years.
If that ceiling is exceeded, the group recommends penalizing companies $200/tonne for emissions that exceed their targets, serving as a huge financial incentive to reduce GHGs. The group also recommends the government begin suspending projects that have yet to start construction.
Co-Chair Dave Collyer says he hopes advancements in technology will mean the 100 Mt ceiling is never reached. Energy Minister Margaret McCuaig-Boyd says the emissions cap is the "best way to encourage innovation and repair the damage to Alberta’s reputation."
The OSAG also recommends closer monitoring of GHG emissions, at least on an annual basis. The group says additional reviews should be carried out when the 85 and 95 Mt/year levels are reached.
By the end of this month, the committee will submit another report on which investments will likely yield the greatest emissions reductions as production grows. The government will then recruit new advisory members, who will focus on "regional land based management and improving environmental performance."
The recommendations are non-binding and open for feedback from the general public.