The plan on the just transition, at the draft stage, is already decried by Alberta

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The Just Transition plan, at the draft stage, has already been decried by Alberta

Federal Minister of Natural Resources has declared his intention to introduce his bill this year.

According to the Government of Alberta, federal climate targets will force a drop in the production of oil.

Alberta's premier and environment minister have decried Ottawa's intention to introduce a Just Energy Transition Bill. They describe the plan, which has yet to be tabled, as an attack on Alberta's oil and gas sector.

In an interview with CBC, Jonathan Wilkinson said he hopes his government can introduce legislation soon that would help oil and gas workers find jobs in the clean energy sector.

According to Ottawa, a just transition is about preparing the workforce to fully participate in a low-carbon economy while minimizing the consequences of labor market transition. It is also about identifying and supporting inclusive economic opportunities that will support workers and their communities and ensuring that workers and their communities are at the center of discussions that impact their quality of life.

Twittering Prime Minister Danielle Smith said Ottawa's strategy is a short-term plan that would be extremely damaging to hundreds of thousands of Canadians who depend on the energy sector and which would harm the economic recovery.

The federal government has announced plans to eliminate hundreds of thousands of direct and indirect jobs in the energy sector, says Environment Minister Sonya Savage.

She adds that the world is facing an energy crisis that is pushing all prices up. We have a regulatory framework that balances environmental protection and economic growth,” she said. “We have invested billions in technologies that reduce or eliminate emissions like carbon capture, use and storage.

Sonya Savage says the oil industry can maintain production while decreasing its emissions.

Jonathan Wilkinson instead said he was worried about not having enough workers to fill all the positions created by the energy transition.

Alberta refused to participate in an issue table regional on just transition. University of Alberta economics professor Andrew Leach believes this could be a strategic mistake.

Alberta enters the discussion saying that our industry is incompatible with climate action, that our industry is fundamentally threatened by the fight against climate change. This is the message the rest of the country and investors are getting.

Andrew Leach believes, however, that we must remain realistic and that no government program can easily replace a multi-billion dollar industry like oil.

Alberta's renewable energy industry has experienced strong growth in recent years. “We have an opportunity to continue this growth and attract even more investment,” said Grant Arnold, CEO of BlueEarth Renewables, a Calgary-based renewable energy company.

He adds that for many workers the skills needed to work in this sector are the same as those employed in the oil industry.

With information by Tom Ross and David Thurton

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