April 10, 2019

First Resilience Report Measures Province's Readiness for Climate Change

The Government of Saskatchewan released its first climate resilience report today, with measures that demonstrate how the province is increasing resilience to climate change.  The report covers five key areas: natural systems, physical infrastructure, economic sustainability, community preparedness and human well-being.

The Climate Resilience Measurement Framework, released in November 2018, is a commitment in the province’s Prairie Resilience climate change strategy.  This first report identifies targets, baselines, historical trends and the current status for 25 measures of resilience.  The measures are classified in one of three ways: good (showing desired trend), fair (maintaining or mixed trend) or poor (undesirable trend).

“Resilience to a changing climate is just as important as reducing our own provincial emissions,” Environment Minister Dustin Duncan said.  “Assessing and improving on these 25 measures will help people and communities across the province to cope with, adapt to and recover from the inevitable stresses of climate change and extreme weather.”

Fifteen resilience measures in the report are classified as good and are demonstrating anticipated trends.  Most of the measures listed under natural systems and economic sustainability are in good standing, including the following:

  • Saskatchewan continues to sequester significant amounts of soil organic matter, an indicator of soil productivity and carbon sequestered in provincial soil.
  • We are increasing the number of culverts on the national highway system to meet a new provincial flood standard.  This makes the province's transportation network more resilient to extreme weather events.
  • We are reducing the intensity of greenhouse gas emissions per unit of gross domestic product, which indicates our industries are becoming more environmentally efficient and cost-effective.
  • We are increasing the area of Crown land with wildfire fuel management practices, which reduces the risk of wildfire to northern communities.

Seven measures in the report are classified as fair, providing opportunities to reinforce the province's resilience to climate change, including:

  • Efforts will continue to increase the amount of renewable energy sources as part of our provincial electricity mix, with a goal of up to 50 per cent of provincial electricity generation capacity from renewables by 2030.
  • We will increase the number of communities with active surveillance for mosquito- and tick-borne disease, both indicators of changing climates and conditions.
  • We will continue to look at options to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions from government-owned buildings.

“The overall status of the measures is encouraging,” Duncan said.  “This report indicates where we are demonstrating desirable results, and also where we may need to improve going forward to keep communities and families protected from the impacts of climate change.”

The province will continue to track and annually report on the climate resilience measures to better understand Saskatchewan's resilience to climate change, and to identify areas of further focus and improvement.

The province’s first annual Climate Resilience Measurement Framework report and full Prairie Resilience climate change strategy are available at www.saskatchewan.ca/climate-change.