Alberta Legislation, Regulation and Policy Development

Alberta Legislation, Regulation and Policy Development

Alberta's Climate Change Strategy

Alberta is the first jurisdiction in North America to impose comprehensive regulations requiring large facilities in various sectors to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. The development of a carbon compliance system, allowing emission offsets as a compliance option, is one of several actions outlined by the Alberta Government in Albertans and Climate Change: Taking Action (October 2002) and in the Climate Change and Emissions Management Act (2007).

The Alberta Government held several consultations throughout Alberta to help develop the province's 2008 Climate Change Strategy. The message was clear among Albertans; action is needed to address climate change and the province must take the initiative to do its part to reduce greenhouse gas emissions entering our atmosphere.

The 2008 Climate Change Strategy is a practical and comprehensive approach that addresses not only how much energy we use, but also how we can combine technology and expertise to capture emissions and produce cleaner energy for Alberta and the rest of the world.


Acts and Regulations

As part of its efforts to address climate change, the Province of Alberta has introduced legislation to address greenhouse gas emissions in the province: the Climate Change and Emissions Management Act. Alberta has required annual reporting of air emissions since 2003. Facilities that emit more than 100,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases a year are required to reduce their emissions intensity by 12 per cent annually. To date, portions of the Act have entered into force. These pertain to the regulations that give authority to Alberta Environment to set targets, enforce mandatory reporting, and emissions intensity reductions.

There are three regulations under the Act currently in effect. The Alberta Specified Gas Reporting Regulation lays out the reporting requirements for large emitters in the province and the Specified Gas Emitters Regulation lays out targets for regulated entities and guidelines for achieving compliance. The Administrative Penalty Regulation sets out the penalty for non-compliance with the Climate Change and Emissions Management Act.


Specified Gas Emitters Regulation

Alberta's regulatory system for managing Greenhouse Gases effective July 1, 2007 enables a compliance-based carbon market to develop in this province by:

  • Establishing market demand through regulated emission reduction targets for large emitters; and
  • Enabling market supply through allowing emission offsets as a compliance option for regulated emitters.

Regulated firms can buy verified emission reductions and/or removals of greenhouse gases (i.e. offsets) from voluntary actions arising from unregulated activities (i.e. offset projects in Alberta).


Offset = a reduction or removal in GHG emissions from a project that features a new management practice, technology and/or control system. Other terms include 'offset credit', 'carbon credit' and 'credit'.


This market-based approach to managing carbon has been widely supported by governments and stakeholders as a more cost-effective way to achieve climate change objectives. It offers flexibility for emitters, since markets typically determine the most cost-effective emission reduction opportunities. Further, ability to sell offsets provides an incentive for Albertans, from all sectors of the economy, to innovate and invest in activities that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions beyond regulated activities.


Click here for results from the 2007 Compliance year.

Click here for results from the 2008 Compliance year.


AB Sidebar