Saskatchewan has released its climate change plan — and it doesn’t include a carbon price or tax.
The province has long argued with the federal government that a price on carbon will disproportionately affect key Saskatchewan industries such as mining and agriculture.
The Prairie Resilience: A Made-in-Saskatchewan Climate Change Strategy sets out specific actions in a number of areas including natural systems, physical infrastructure, economic sustainability, community preparedness and measuring, monitoring and reporting.
“This plan is broader and bolder than a single policy such as a carbon tax and will achieve better and more meaningful outcomes over the long term,” Dustin Duncan, minister of energy and resources said.
“Our climate change strategy recognizes the investment and innovation that has taken place and sets out the road map for future actions. This is about protecting our people and communities as much as it is about working with industry and others to reduce emissions here in Saskatchewan.”
The climate change strategy also includes developing and implementing sector-specific output-based performance standards on large emitting facilities, such as those in oil and gas, and mining.
Duncan said the province will use what they’re calling “best performance credits” for regulated facilities trying to cut down emissions.
“They may have already made significant capital investments that otherwise might not have been recognized — or they may exceed the performance standard in an exceptional manner,” he explained.
These standards will be developed in consultation with industry throughout 2018 and will recognize actions already taken by industry to reduce emissions.
Flexible compliance options for industry will be developed that will include:
- Making improvements at facilities to reduce emissions intensity;
- Purchasing a carbon offset, representing a reduction in GHG emissions;
- Using best performance credits;
- Utilizing a market mechanism outlined in the Paris Accord, such as an internationally transferred mitigation outcome; and
- Paying into a technology fund.
- The offset system will create additional value for actions that result in carbon sequestration or reduced emissions, especially from agricultural soils, wetlands and forests. While agricultural producers will not be covered under any standard, they will benefit from being eligible to participate in the new offset program.
The strategy also reaffirms SaskPower’s commitment to achieve a 50 per cent electricity capacity from renewable resources and reduce overall GHG emissions by 40 per cent by 2030.
Stakeholder consultations will begin in early 2018.
– With files from 980 CJME’s Jessie Anton