Connect with us
[bsa_pro_ad_space id=12]


Taking Action Against Climate Change with Emissions Reduction Alberta


5 minute read

As the climate conversation continues to expand in the public space, ambitious goals for reducing emissions are being communicated at regional and international levels. The burning of fossil fuels has substantially contributed to the build up of greenhouse gases (GHG) in our atmosphere, resulting in the climate changes currently impacting major industries, ecosystems, weather patterns, natural resources and biodiversity around the world. According to Climate Change in Alberta, “97% of climate scientists now agree that human activity is responsible for most temperature increases over the past 250 years.”

In Alberta, over 50% of GHG emissions are the result of “industrial, manufacturing and construction activity, as well as producing the electricity we consume … the remainder comes from heating our homes and businesses, transportation and from agriculture, forestry and municipal waste” (1). As a part of a multi-level provincial strategy aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions in Alberta, the government currently partners with various organizations and funds a number of programs designed to accelerate emissions reduction initiatives and technology development. 

One Alberta organization that has played a significant role in furthering emissions reduction in our province for more than a decade is Emissions Reduction Alberta (ERA), based in Edmonton. 

Established in 2009, Emissions Reduction Alberta “takes action on climate change and supports economic growth by investing in the pilot, demonstration and deployment of clean technology solutions that reduce GHGs, lower costs and attract investment, and create jobs in Alberta.” For more than 10 years, ERA has been facilitating Alberta’s transition to a low carbon economy by supporting and furthering the most innovative approaches to emissions reduction.

“Alberta’s industries have ambitious goals around emissions reductions that can’t be achieved without deploying new technology,” says Steve MacDonald, CEO of Emissions Reduction Alberta, “Our goal is to identify and accelerate the innovation Alberta needs to grow the economy and cut emissions.” 

Steve MacDonald – CEO of Emissions Reduction Alberta 

ERA’s funding comes from the carbon price paid by large final emitters in Alberta. With this funding, ERA operates a challenge structure that calls innovative companies to respond to pertinent industry challenges with original solutions. “Challenges are always well over-subscribed,” says MacDonald. “This gives us the ability to really select the best of the best and get a good understanding of the range of ideas that are out there.” 

To date, ERA has invested $607 million in the development of 183 unique projects dedicated to reducing emissions across various industries. ERA funding is leveraged and for every dollar invested by the organization, another $6.40 is invested by industry, innovators and other project funders. As a result, the total value of these projects is over $4 billion. ERA estimates this will lead to a total reduction of 34,800,000 tonnes of CO2e by the year 2030.

In October 2019, ERA announced their Natural Gas Challenge, a campaign committed to improving cost competitiveness and reducing emissions in Alberta’s natural gas sector. On July 21, 2020, ERA pledged $58.4 million to the 20 winning projects, valued at over $155 million. According to ERA, these projects will create 760 new jobs and, “if successful, these technology innovations will lead to cumulative GHG reductions of almost one million tonnes of CO2e by 2030 – equivalent to the GHG emissions from 750,000 passenger vehicles driven for one year.” 

Moving forward, the ERA expects to see the first round of Expression of Interest for their latest $40 million Food, Farming and Forestry Challenge by August 27, 2020. In the meantime, the organization will continue to focus on aiding Alberta’s economic recovery through diversification and job creation, and the pursuit of innovation. 

“We are supporting the actions required to help Alberta achieve its economic and environmental goals,” says MacDonald. “Our investments are making a real difference; one that is fundamental to Alberta’s future success. From incremental change to game-changers, we are developing the solutions Alberta and the world need.”

To learn more about Emissions Reduction Alberta, visit 


For more stories, visit Todayville Calgary.


Canada under pressure to produce more food, protect agricultural land: report

Published on

Canada’s agricultural land is under increasing pressure to produce more food as demand grows domestically and internationally, while the industry grapples with limited resources and environmental constraints, a new report found. 

“We need to grow more food on less land and in a volatile climate,” said Tyler McCann, managing director of the Canadian Agri-Food Policy Institute.

The report by the institute released Thursday looks at the pressures on Canada’s agricultural land to produce more food while also mitigating and adapting to the effects of climate change, said McCann. 

Despite Canada being a big country, it doesn’t have as much agricultural land as people might think, said McCann, with the report noting that agricultural land makes up only around seven per cent of the country. 

Because of that, we can’t take what we do have for granted, he said. “We need to be really thoughtful about how we are using our agricultural land.” 

In 2020, Canada was the eighth largest country in terms of cropland area, the report said, with that cropland decreasing by seven per cent over the previous two decades. 

Canada is a major producer and net exporter of agriculture and agri-food products, the report said, exporting $91 billion in products in 2022, and one of the top 10 exporters of wheat, canola, pulses, pork and beef. 

In the coming years, Canada will face increased demand from countries whose populations are growing, the report said. 

“With population growth on one side and climate change on the other, Canada will be amongst an increasingly smaller number of countries that is a net exporter,” said McCann, noting that Canada’s own population is growing, and farmland also needs to be protected against urban sprawl. 

The wildfires clouding Canadian skies this week are a “vivid reminder” of the pressure that extreme weather and the changing climate are putting on the agricultural sector, said McCann. 

“We need to clearly mitigate … agriculture’s impact on climate change. But we also need to make sure agriculture is adapting to climate change’s impacts,” he said. 

One of the ways the world has responded to demand for increased agricultural production over time is to create more agricultural land, in some cases by cutting down forests, said McCann. But that’s not a viable option for Canada, which doesn’t have a lot of land that can be sustainably converted into farmland — and even if it could, doing so could have a variety of adverse environmental effects, he said. 

Some of the practices used to reduce emissions and sequester carbon in agriculture can also improve production output on existing farmland, the report found, such as precision agriculture and no-till practices.

However, intensifying the production of current agricultural land also comes with potential environmental downsides, the report said.

For example, McCann said fertilizer is an important part of sustainable agriculture, but there’s a balance to be struck because excessive use of fertilizer can quickly turn food production unsustainable. 

“We need to be a lot more thoughtful about the inputs that we’re using,” he said, adding the same can be said about the use of technology in agriculture and the policies and programs put in place to encourage sustainable intensification of Canadian agriculture. 

The report recommends that Canada adopt policies that provide financial incentives and technical assistance to farmers and develop regulatory frameworks promoting sustainable land use, as well as promoting education and awareness campaigns, so that the country can “ensure the long-term sustainability of its agricultural sector while protecting the environment.”  

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 8, 2023.

Rosa Saba, The Canadian Press

Continue Reading


Lawyer tells Alberta’s highest court review board biased in de Grood’s case

Published on

Continue Reading