Alberta announces new green projects will reduce emissions by 0.31%

16 new projects announced by Emissions Reduction Alberta pledge to take 6.8 Mt of emissions out of the atmosphere.

Last week, the Alberta government announced that they planned to spend $126 million on 16 projects that they say will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The funding will come from the Technology Innovation and Emissions Reduction system, which is primarily funded by companies paying the government for the pollution they produce.

The federal government is also kicking in $50 million through their Low Carbon Economy Leadership Fund.

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Here is a list of the projects:

Oil and gas

CompanyProjectERA commitment
H2nanO IncorporatedSunlight powered GHG treatment for oil sands tailings pond$3.3 million
ConocoPhillips CanadaSurmont steam-additives pilot$7.4 million
Canadian Natural Resources LimitedIn-pit extraction process demonstration$15.0 million
Suncor Energy Inc.Suncor PURE Demonstration Facility$15.0 million
Linde Canada Inc.LNG low carbon fuels demonstration project$14.9 million
ERA is Emissions Reduction Alberta

Low carbon energy

CompanyProjectERA Commitment
Canadian PacificCP Hydrogen Locomotive Program$15.0 million
Elemental Energy Renewables Inc.Chappice Lake solar storage$10.0 million
Air Products Canada Ltd.New Edmonton Blue Hydrogen Hub$15.0 million
City of EdmontonAlberta Zero Emissions Hydrogen Transit (AZEHT)$4.6 million
Turning Point GenerationCanyon Creek pumped hydro energy storage$15.0 million
ATCO ElectricNorthern Alberta community diesel reduction$2.5 million

Bioindustry and waste-to-value

CompanyProjectERA Commitment
Mercer Peace River Pulp Ltd.MPR Fibre Procurement Project$7.5 million
Calgary Aggregate Recycling Inc.Calgary Aggregate Recycling Soil Reuse Facility Expansion$8.8 million
Lehigh Hanson Materials Ltd.Lehigh Edmonton Alternative Low Carbon Fuel Project$11.7 million
Lafarge Canada Inc.Landfill Fly Ash Beneficiation$15.0 million
Capital Power CorporationGenesee Carbon Conversion Centre (Phase 1)$15.0 million

These 16 projects were selected from a total of 281 applications for the Emissions Reduction Alberta Shovel-Ready Challenge.

The government estimates that, collectively, they will eliminate 6.8 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents from by 2030. That’s an average of 850,000 tonnes per year.

Let’s look at that number in persepctive.

According to the federal government, Alberta saw 275.8 megatonnes of CO2e in emissions in 2019. In 2005, those same emissions were at 235.5 megatonnes that was a 17% increase over a 14-year period. Or about 1.2% a year.

If we assume the same rate of increase between now and 2030, then emissions would be up to 315.2 megatonnes by then. We will have seen a total of 39.4 megatonnes in year-over increases. The cumulative increase in year-over-year emissions, however, we could see an additional 231.8 megatonnes pumped into the atmosphere from Alberta.

Here, let me show you:

Total emissions
(in Mt)
Year-over-year changeAdditional emissions
(from 2019 levels)
Assuming 1.2% increase a year

And this means that the 6.8 megatonnes of emissions the ERA hopes to reduce total emissions by will amount to only 2.9% of all cumulative additional emissions over 2019 levels.

In fact, assuming the same rate of increase that we saw between 2005 and 2019, this reduction over the next 8 years will basically cover the cumulative increase we’ve seen just between 2019 and 2021.

And that’s just the increase! We’d still be also pumping into the atmosphere the 275.8 megatonnes every year that we had pumped into it in 2019.

What if we assume the emissions don’t increase, and that they haven’t increased since 2019? After all, emissions grew 37.1% between 1990 and 2005, yet only 17.1% between 2005 and 2019. So, they seem to be dropping.

Well, here’s what our generous assumption would look like. In the 8 years between now and the end of 2029, emissions at 275.8 megatonnes a year would come to a total of 2,206.4 megatonnes or 2.21 gigatonnes.

That 6.8 megatonnes reduction would amount to a 0.31% reduction of total emissions over the next 8 years.

It sounds like a lot when you say we’re going to take nearly 7 million tonnes of emissions out of the atmosphere. But when you put the number in perspective, it doesn’t actually seem to be a whole lot.

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By Kim Siever

Kim Siever is an independent queer journalist based in Lethbridge, Alberta. He writes daily news articles, focusing on politics and labour.

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