Sunday 15 March 2015

Building an Environmentally Sustainable Future for Saskatchewan: Saskatchewan’s Role in Global Climate Change and the Path to Sustainability

By Peter Prebble, David Henry, Murray Hidlebaugh, William Wardell 
Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, March 13, 2015 

Building an Environmentally Sustainable Future for Saskatchewan examines the impact of the Saskatchewan government’s economic strategies on greenhouse gas pollution, ocean acidification, loss of biodiversity, and nuclear weapons proliferation. The authors propose 30 policy changes that could reverse the province’s poor environmental record and lead to a more sustainable environmental future.

The report, published March 13, 2015, is available online. The authors will also be presenting their findings and answering questions at 7 pm, Tuesday, March 17, 2015, at the Frances Morrison Library, Saskatoon, as part of the Sustainable Speaker Series.

Outlined below are just a few of the report’s key findings:

  • “Saskatchewan’s economy accounts for about 1/700 of the annual man made global greenhouse gas emissions that are causing climate change. Yet we constitute approximately 1/6,400 of world population.” 
  • The oil and gas industry account for 34% of the province’s greenhouse gas emissions. The venting and flaring of natural gas during oil and gas extraction is largely unregulated. 
  • Electricity generation and transportation each account for an additional 21% of the province’s greenhouse gas emissions. 
  •  SaskPower’s carbon capture project “will only reduce SaskPower greenhouse gas emissions by one million tonnes per year. To put this in context, that reduction will be insufficient to offset the 2.1 million tonne rise in Saskatchewan’s province-wide greenhouse gas emissions over the latest one year period (2011 to 2012) for which data has been publicly released.” 
  • Canada as a whole invested $24,000 million in renewable energy from 2009 to 2013. Saskatchewan’s investment in renewable energy, during the same 5-year time period, was only $70 million. 
  • Saskatchewan lacks a mandatory building code for energy efficiency in newly constructed buildings. The recent boom in new housing construction “is outdated from an environmental and technological point of view right from the time that construction is completed.” 
  • Saskatchewan has the highest household use of pesticides on gardens and lawns of any province in Canada. 

The report’s 30 policy recommendations address each of these issues as well as many more.