Press Release: World moves toward more dangerous climate extremes

Press Release
Saskatchewan Environmental Society
April 22, 2013
For immediate release

World moves toward more dangerous climate extremes

The risk of more extreme weather and other dangerous climate change effects increases as carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere approach 400 parts per million (ppm) warned the Saskatchewan Environmental Society (SES). In a letter to Premier Brad Wall and Environment Minister Ken Cheveldayoff, SES points out that the trend lines from elevated carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere are deeply worrisome.

“Significant areas of the world are already experiencing more intensive rainfall and flooding while others are suffering more severe heat waves and drought,” explained Ann Coxworth, SES Board Member. “Land based glaciers are melting and sending enormous amounts of fresh water into the ocean. This is causing sea levels to rise and reach a point where coastal communities are put at risk.”

Peter Prebble, SES Director of Environmental Policy stated that “one of the early signs that climate change is negatively impacting Saskatchewan is the steady increase in payments under the Provincial Disaster Assistance Program, where annual spending (adjusted for inflation and program changes) has jumped more than 12 fold within a decade.”

Despite knowing the large risks that climate extremes will pose to young people and future generations, Saskatchewan has not yet achieved concrete reductions in provincial greenhouse gas emissions. “In order to prevent extreme weather events from getting far worse, Saskatchewan and every other part of North America needs to cut greenhouse gas pollution by at least 40 per cent within a decade, and then plan further reductions for future decades,” states Prebble. “This is the only way greenhouse gas pollution levels in the atmosphere will be stabilized in time to avert catastrophic consequences in many parts of the world.”

In its letter to the Saskatchewan Government, SES offers eight recommendations for ways Saskatchewan could reduce its greenhouse gas emissions, which are currently, on a per capita basis, among the very highest on our planet.

The latest data just filed with the United Nations shows Saskatchewan releases 72.7 million tonnes of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere each year. That is three and one half times the Canadian average for our population size.