A price on carbon and Project Pioneer

by Aaron Wherry

On October 14, 2009, Prime Minister Stephen Harper visited Alberta to announce that his government was committing $342.8 million toward a carbon capture and storage project at TransAlta’s Keephills 3 plant.

According to a story that appeared in the Stony Plain Reporter two days later, Mr. Harper was asked at the announcement what incentive would exist for companies to pursue carbon capture and storage.

During questioning, Harper was asked what incentives exist for large CO2 emitters to implement the new technology. ”There will be compliance mechanisms that set a price on carbon but obviously that will come into effect when we have continental or perhaps even an international cap and trade regime,” he said.

A report from the Canadian Press put it this way.

Critics have long pointed out that carbon capture and storage is expensive technology and will require huge public subsidies without a mandated price for carbon in the range of $70 to $80 per tonne. Alberta’s current price is $15. Harper said market signals will eventually result from ongoing talks with the United States on a cap-and-trade system for carbon. ”There will be compliance mechanisms that effectively set a price on carbon but obviously that will come into effect when we have a continental or even an international cap-and-trade regime,” he said.

This past April, less than three years after the Prime Minister’s announcement, TransAlta abandoned the project.

TransAlta said it found no firm buyers for the carbon dioxide to be captured at the plant, and said there is, as yet, no cap-and-trade system that would let TransAlta and its partners sell emission-reduction credits. “Two things were instrumental in our decision,” said Don Wharton, vice-president, policy and sustainability for TransAlta. “One was the lack … of a suitable price for the pure CO2 created by the project. The second was the uncertainty around the value of emission reductions that would be created by Project Pioneer under regulatory frameworks that are still being developed.”

Here again is a rough guide to the Conservatives’ carbon tax farce.




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A price on carbon and Project Pioneer

  1. So, what happened to the $342.8 million? Did TransAlta get the money? Did they have to give it back? Or did our self-proclaimed economist PM just flush $342.8 million down the john?

  2. Canadian political debate is like reading The Onion – we have multiple prices on carbon already and the world isn’t warming. Cons policy is only one that is near reality but Cons don’t want to say it publicly because the kooky greens across Canada will make much trouble and Harper all about placidity. It is stultifying.

    Daily Mail Oct 13 2012:
    The world stopped getting warmer almost 16 years ago, according to new data released last week. The figures, which have triggered debate among climate scientists, reveal that from the beginning of 1997 until August 2012, there was no discernible rise in aggregate global temperatures.This means that the ‘plateau’ or ‘pause’ in global warming has now lasted for about the same time as the previous period when temperatures rose, 1980 to 1996. Before that, temperatures had been stable or declining for about 40 years.

  3. James Lovelock ~ Apr 2012:
    “It just so happens that the green religion is now taking over from the Christian religion,” Lovelock observed. “I don’t think people have noticed that, but it’s got all the sort of terms that religions use … The greens use guilt. That just shows how religious greens are. You can’t win people round by saying they are guilty for putting (carbon dioxide) in the air.”

  4. The two biggest mistakes the rightwing ever made……… being anti-women, and making climate change political.

    We’re now seeing their last hurrah before the world moves on to a new era.

      • Yup, guarantee it.

    • Yes, all conservatives hate women. And no women are conservatives. Or if they are, they hate themselves.

      • Yup, they do….the women have to become ‘prairie muffins’…..women who have internalized self-loathing. Same as women in Saudi Arabia who are surgeons….but really believe they can’t drive.

        • Yes Emily, if any woman disagrees with your progressive political outlook, she hates herself.

  5. String bogs or concentric bogs, the ones with alternating hummocks and hollows may be best for sequestering trees. Fungi won’t degrade carbon much without oxygen. They are all over the place with trees, in Labrador, in Quebec near Scheferville, an hr or two north of Timmins…the value of the peat here and in Russia must be in the tens of trillions at least, if this method works. IDK yet whether to fill in the water hollows or stuff trees in the hummocks…

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