The Saskatchewan Ministry of the Environment is undertaking a consultation with stakeholders in the environment (that means you, but pretty much only organizations are aware of this consultation). By about June, they are opening an Office of Climate Change at arms length from the government to oversee implementation of new greenhouse gas emission laws.
I was attending on behalf of Regina Car Share Co-operative, which will in some way be affected by the law. Large businesses like Evraz (steel) are very worried that the new law will shut them down as they become less profitable due to the current energy intensive manufacturing processes. Once consuming energy costs more, it stands to reason that businesses that don’t adapt and clean up their act, stand to retract, and that’s a fact, cat.
I was probably in the 10th percentile in the room, when it came to age. Someone with the Nature Conservancy I think, suggested the government should contact young people for their input directly, since the legislation has the most effect on them. It was a general consensus in the room among the youngest participants, that the targets were not bold enough (only 20% reduction in total emissions by 2020), and the government was putting economics before the environment.
The previous government had another weak target above 20%. The current target just “coincidentally” matches the Harper Conservatives’ target nation wide. The number is not based on science, it’s based on economic theory to sustain current businesses. I asked this question, and that was the answer I got from the government’s representatives.
A smart person in the audience, Jim E., pointed out that assuming that all businesses around today will survive in a green economy, is going to make this legislation a failure from the get go. Another person was disappointed that there was no stipulation in the legislation that the climate change fund be spent on mostly Saskatchewan businesses dedicated to producing greener technology. I was disappointed that I couldn’t get straight answers, and my valid points were poo-pooed or dismissed with flawed red herrings.
I brought up the significant problem that each Ministry right now carries a responsibility toward maintaining our environment, and a new office will probably not correct other areas of legislation that prohibit people from being green.
Will the Transportation Act be amended so anyone can go out and purchase a ZENN electric car to use on Regina’s slower streets? The rumour, (and I haven’t confirmed it) is that electric cars are not currently allowed on Saskatchewan’s roads and streets. Does anyone know for sure, or want to call SGI to check? I’d buy a highway capable electric vehicle tomorrow if it were street legal, got 300km/charge, and cost under $25,000.
Will SaskPower be directed to buy green power from customers, at a premium price to encourage production? Will Kendric F. get a straight answer from Sask Power when the company he works for asks them about setting up their own wind farm in southeast Saskatchewan?
Will preservation of natural land be encouraged, or overlooked?
The Sask Party government is doing too little, and too late when it comes to action on climate change. Last Earth Day, they broke their election promises on the issue. They’ve done nothing concrete so far other than hold public meetings (not all bad, but they needed a plan in 2007, not 2010). Their plan is to reduce our provincial CO(2) level to 7.5% of national output, while having maybe 4% of the country’s population. Right now it’s 10% for 3%. Both sets of numbers are disgraceful.
According to Environment Canada, Saskatchewan’s greenhouse gas emissions are rising rapidly — they increased 62 per cent from 1990 to 2004.
If we don’t reduce them by at least 70% in the same span of time, so 2024, I’ll consider this legislation a failure, as I’m sure you will when you witness the effects climate change will have on our province. We know 1990’s level of greenhouse gas was not good for our climate, and the associated pollution was bad for our lungs. Imagine what sort of drastic change is in store for us because of short sighted economic policy that trumps environmental stewardship. Our future generations may not forgive us easily.
There are people trying to make a positive difference.