Addressing Polarization: What Works? The Alberta Climate Leadership Plan

The University of Ottawa’s Positive Energy program uses the convening power of the university to bring together academic researchers and senior decision-makers from industry, government, Indigenous communities, local communities and environmental organizations to determine how to strengthen public confidence in energy decision-making.

Mockup of the report.

The report

The University of Ottawa’s Positive Energy program released a new report (PDF, 3.6MB) suggesting that there is more bipartisan and expert consensus on climate policy in Alberta than commonly believed. This report is the first of five upcoming case studies that focus on initiatives to reduce polarization over energy and climate issues in Canada.

The report, written by Positive Energy faculty affiliate and Mount Royal University professor Duane Bratt, reveals that the talks that led to the development of Alberta’s Climate Leadership Plan were started by Premier Jim Prentice in 2014. Following the election of Rachel Notley and the NDP in 2015, these talks grew into the most ambitious climate plan ever put forth by a government in Canada.

Dr. Bratt finds that while the Climate Leadership Plan was polarizing within Alberta, it opened a policy window across the country. Many of Canada’s subsequent energy and climate policies would not have been possible without it. The Climate Leadership Plan was a success in terms of agenda setting and policy development, but a failure of implementation and communication. It was also undermined by many external factors, including delays to the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, the elections of Donald Trump and BC premier John Horgan, and federal policies perceived to be anti-energy.

The report in brief

The two-page brief of the study (PDF, 448KB)
Brief of the study (PDF, 448KB)

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