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Budget falls short on climate, water problems: critics

Posted by mhudema on April 23, 2008

By JEREMY LOOME, LEGISLATURE BUREAU

Alberta will spend nearly $1.4 billion over the next three years to address climate change and water issues, but critics say the plans accompanying that spending will leave the province playing catchup.

“We will pursue a leading role in responding to climate change through carbon capture and storage, saving energy, and greener energy production,” said Finance Minister Iris Evans.

Program spending will double in 2008-2009 to $403 million, from $183 million. Much of the total spending, however, isn’t in direct program delivery but in research to develop new technologies such as carbon capture storage. The government will put $155 million of that into the climate change technology fund and $300 million over three years into its water strategy. Direct climate change strategies will receive about $30 million in the coming year.

There is nothing in the budget to suggest the government is moving away from its much-criticized plan to slowly phase in carbon emission reductions over the next 42 years, with carbon capture and storage underground starting somewhere around 2015.

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