Act or Be Acted Upon: The Case for Phasing out Alberta's Sands

Dr. Gordon Laxer outlines a plan for phasing out "the sands" and stresses the importance of "a just transition for Sands workers"  which will require "research, thought, and consultations with impacted, workers and communities."  Members may recall Dr. Laxer spoke about his book "After the Sands" at the Environment North 2016 AGM. 

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From the executive summary of the "Act or be Acted Upon" report:

"The Alberta bitumen Sands are Canada’s fastest growing and largest single source of greenhouse gases (GHGs). This paper investigates the questions: Can Canada reach its Paris and G8 climate targets if it allows Sands output and emissions to grow substantially? Should the Sands be phased out? What can we learn from other energy phaseouts, specifically the ending of coal-fired electricity in Ontario and Alberta’s plans to do the same by 2030? The paper concludes with the steps of a planned Sands phase-out and principles for a just transition for Sands workers."

The basics of the phase-out plan are:

"1) Place a permanent moratorium on new Sands production.
2) Give a closing time for Sands projects and units of projects that long ago paid off the capital costs, starting with the initial Suncor and Syncrude units, which are over 50 years old.
3) Require each Sands project to lower its emissions annually by 3–4% per year (2–3 Mt) starting in 2018. Projects that fail to meet GHG reduction targets must be fined at a level higher than the costs to comply."