(Grande Prairie, AB) – Conservative leadership candidate Rick Peterson today unveiled a climate change policy that the Alberta-based businessman says will protect both the environment and the economy.
“One of the most significant issues facing current and future generations is climate change,” said Peterson. “As Conservatives, if we ignore addressing this issue in a serious manner, we do so at our own peril.”
“My climate change plan clearly signals to resource sector workers and their families, to global investors and to all Canadians, that our Party can and will play a leadership role in supporting sustainable and responsible resource development.”
As the fluently bilingual founder of the pro-resource sector group Suits and Boots, Peterson says he has heard a wide variety of views on the climate change issue from people across the country, including in Quebec.
“It’s clear from our cross-Canada resource sector tour conducted before Christmas that there exists an opportunity for bold, effective leadership that still offers a clear-eyed understanding of risks involved with climate change. And nowhere is that more evident than in the resource sector areas of Quebec.
“There are clear choices to be made that will align climate change policy with Conservative values such as lower debt, lower deficits, smarter and more streamlined regulation and stronger economic growth. Our plan addresses these head-on, and benefits every region of Canada.”
Peterson says that there are essentially two clear options: the federal Liberal government’s national carbon tax program that is long on taxes and regulations, but short on measurable impacts – or the Alberta government’s model, that creates incentives for large emitters to decrease the amount of emissions they release per barrel of oil produced from Alberta’s vast oil reserves.
Peterson believes by building on the strengths of Alberta’s Technology Innovation and Emissions Reduction (TIER) system, it’s a policy that will work for all of Canada.
“While largely preserving TIER, there would be consideration of changes, including a reversion to industry-wide baselines rather than facility-based baselines, and creating incentives (both positive and negative) to encourage large Canadian emitters to improve their greenhouse gas emission intensity.”
Peterson stressed that technology also needs to be a critical part of the climate solution, which means investing more money in the kind of fundamental research and development that can lead to key breakthroughs needed in energy storage, lower-carbon energy extraction, renewable energy technology and rapidly developing nuclear technology around Small Modular Reactors.
“We know today that there is a way forward that takes climate risk seriously, while preserving conservative beliefs in the power of trade and markets, the power of technological progress, and concerns about federal tax plans that seem more about grabbing money for pet projects than about seriously addressing the actual risks posed by climate change,” concluded Peterson.
Peterson’s op-ed on his climate change plan can be read here.