Premier Wall Outlines Saskatchewan Plan for Climate Change
Premier Brad Wall today released Saskatchewan’s White Paper on Climate Change, outlining an alternative approach to Prime Minister Trudeau’s national carbon tax.
“There are three approaches we can take to fighting climate change – adaptation, innovation and taxation,” Wall said. “Of the three, a carbon tax will do the most harm to the economy while having the least positive impact on reducing emissions.
“We should be focusing our efforts on innovation and adaptation, not taxation.”
Wall noted that there are more than 2,400 new coal-fired power plants planned or under construction around the world, according to a report released last December at the Paris climate change summit. Those plants alone will emit 6.5 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) a year – nearly nine times Canada’s annual Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions.
“This is why innovation – developing technology that can be used around the world to reduce emissions – is the logical response if we actually want to solve the problem,” Wall said. “In Saskatchewan, we’re focused on making a difference in that battle through the development of carbon capture and storage (CCS) that could dramatically reduce the emissions from those 2,400 new coal-fired plants.”
Wall’s plan for action by the Saskatchewan and Canadian government includes:
- Calling on the federal government to double funding for climate change adaptation research, planning and infrastructure, targeted specifically at areas affected by the impact of climate change, like remote northern communities;
- In Saskatchewan, supporting the Crop Development Centre and the Global Institute for Food Security as they continue working on new crop varieties that are better able to withstand climate change and that effectively fix GHGs to the soil;
- Partnering with the federal government through SaskPower and the International CCS Knowledge Centre to develop the next generation of CCS technology for coal plants to enable cost-effective global deployment of post-combustion technology and securing recognition for investments made by the people of Saskatchewan through SaskPower in CCS technology;
- Calling on the federal government to redeploy its $2.65 billion, five-year commitment to developing countries to deal with climate change by adding it to the existing $2 billion federal Low Carbon Economy Trust and use that funding for research and innovation in Canada that has the potential to reduce emissions worldwide, with technologies like CCS and small nuclear reactors;
- Increasing SaskPower’s renewables like wind and solar to 50 per cent of its generating capacity by 2030;
- Pushing for recognition of emission-reducing carbon offsets, like hydro exports from BC, Manitoba and Quebec, and the carbon stored in Canada’s vast forests, wetlands and farmland; and
- When the resource economy strengthens, moving ahead with plans for a fund supported by a levy on large emitters, with the fund’s expenditures limited to new technologies and innovation to reduce GHGs and not for general revenue.
Wall said these actions represent a much better approach than a carbon tax.
“Make no mistake - a carbon tax will harm Saskatchewan,” Wall said. “Thousands of people make their living in trade-exposed, carbon-intensive industries that are especially vulnerable. Energy, mining, agriculture – the backbone of Saskatchewan’s economy – will be hit hard by a carbon tax.
“Saskatchewan people want to contribute to this country economically and in every way, including the fight against climate change, but we will defend our interests. We will defend our economy that pays for the quality of life we want for all Saskatchewan people and we will fight for our interests, in the court of public opinion and if need be, in the courts of the land.”