Earlier this week our government released Saskatchewan’s White Paper on Climate Change, outlining an alternative approach to Prime Minister Trudeau’s national carbon tax.
The Saskatchewan Plan for Climate Change focuses on innovation and adaptation, technological solutions to help the planet, rather than a complete focus on taxes that will cost Saskatchewan families their jobs while maybe reducing 30% of 1.6% of global emissions.
Even if Canada reduced its emissions by 30% (and the carbon tax won't do that alone), the 2,400 new coal-fired plants planned or under construction around the world will wipe out all of that work in just 12 days of operation. Canada can and should be a leader to solve this global problem.
The development of carbon capture and storage (CCS) could dramatically reduce global emissions and is part of our government’s focus. Developing technology that can be used around the world to reduce emissions is the logical response if we actually want to solve the global problem.
Our 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.
These actions represent a much better approach than a carbon tax.
It’s time to focus on innovation, not a forced, feel-good, sin tax that will lead to Saskatchewan families losing their jobs with virtually no impact on global climate change.