The effects of climate change around the world are now clearly visible. In Saskatchewan, the largest effects to date have been very heavy rainfall events with extensive flooding, severe forest and grassland fires, and migration of insect pests from further south. Globally, climate change has disrupted the hydrological cycle, accelerated the melting of Arctic sea ice, sharply declined mountain glaciers, caused a dangerous rise in global sea levels, increased the intensity of hurricanes and typhoons, catalyzed extensive damage of coral reef ecosystems, reduced crop yields, and killed hundreds of thousands of people each year.
In 2021, the Canadian government adopted a more ambitious greenhouse gas reduction target: a 40% to 45% reduction below 2005 nation-wide emission levels by 2030. Unfortunately, the Saskatchewan government has adopted no such commitment, and its inaction on climate change is further reflected by the fact that per capita greenhouse gas emissions in our province are more than three times the national average and there is a steady increase in payments under the Provincial Disaster Assistance Program. SES urges Saskatchewan to do its fair share in achieving nation-wide emissions reduction. SES recommends that the Saskatchewan government work with the federal government to bring emissions in our province down to 41 million tonnes per year by 2030.
Additionally, the worldwide use of fossil fuels needs to be phased out by 2040 to avoid catastrophic impacts of climate change. One of the highest priorities for action in our province is the phase out of SaskPower’s coal-fired power plants. SES has prepared a detailed paper on how this can be accomplished. Methane emissions from the oilfield are another major contributor to Saskatchewan’s greenhouse gas problem. Read our backgrounder on methane regulation.
As we plan for the transition from fossil fuels to a renewable energy future, we must recognize and respond to the needs of communities and workers who currently depend on extractive industries. Read our paper about energy & employment in a low-greenhouse gas emitting economy.
Other action SES is taking on climate change includes a variety of practical energy conservation and renewable energy projects as well as public education events and active participation in consultation opportunities with all levels of government.