CALGARY — Alberta is setting aside close to $1.4 billion from climate levies to help industry reduce carbon emissions.
The government said the funding, spread over seven years, will make it easier for industries to invest in new technologies, stay competitive and create jobs.
"The business case for action on climate change has never been more clear, more urgent or provided so many opportunities," said Alberta Environment Minister Shannon Phillips at a Calgary press conference Tuesday.
"Today's policy announcement with help grow the modern Alberta economy, put more people back to work, attract more investment dollars, and continue to show the world that low carbon energy is developed and produced right here in Alberta."
The oilsands industry will get $440 million to update and upgrade facilities so they can better meet new guidelines for large emitters, which the government says it will announce later this week.
Industries of all kinds will be able to apply for a further $225 million for carbon reduction innovations, including $80 million to Emissions Reduction Alberta and $145 million for the Climate Change Innovation and Technology Framework.
Alberta Energy Minister Margaret McCuaig-Boyd said the investments are needed to respond to rapidly changing investor expectations.
"The world is shifting every day. How it produces and how it consumes energy, and how we reduce emissions. And we need to shift it because we're seeing investors demand credible plans to fight climate change."
A further $240 million will go to industrial energy efficiency, which will be available to a range of sectors including agriculture, manufacturing and energy.
The plan also sets aside $400 million in loan guarantees for climate reduction programs, reducing the cost and challenges for businesses to fund projects.
When asked if the funding could be considered industry subsidies, Phillips said that industry has provided much of the funds being allocated. He added that the province's Climate Leadership Panel had recommended that a large amount of climate levy funds be reinvested in reducing industry emissions.
"This is being paid for in large part through the compliance costs our large emitters pay in."
She also said that while large emitters have paid for much of the funds, they will be available to a range of sectors and business sizes.
"There are so many different firms and so much different kind of activity that you can incent and move along with clean tech investments as well. There's a whole world of diversification that we can realize through investments like this. It's a real opportunity."
Ian Bickis, The Canadian Press