REGINA — Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall says the federal government should cut money intended to help developing countries with climate change and use it for research in Canada that could reduce emissions worldwide.
Wall wants to see the $2.6-billion Ottawa has earmarked for developing countries added to an existing $2-billion federal low-carbon economy trust.
The idea was in a speech Wall made in Regina today on Saskatchewan”s plan for climate change.
The premier said adaptation and innovation are the best ways to fight climate change — not a carbon tax that he said will do the most harm to the economy while having the least impact on reducing emissions.
Wall has repeatedly criticized Prime Minister Justin Trudeau”s plan to charge $10 per tonne of carbon starting in 2018 and increasing that to $50 by 2022.
Part of his plan also calls for Saskatchewan to work with the federal government to further develop carbon-capture technology for coal-fired power plants.
Wall has said a report released last December at the Paris climate change summit said there are more than 2,400 such plants planned or under construction around the world. Those plants alone would emit 6.5 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide a year.
“This is why innovation — developing technology that can be used around the world to reduce emissions — is the logical response if we actually want to solve the problem,” Wall said Tuesday.
His climate plan repeats his already-stated goal of having 50 per cent of Saskatchewan”s power come from renewable sources such as wind and solar by 2030.
The plan also says that Saskatchewan will move ahead with its own carbon levy on large emitters — but only when the resource economy strengthens. The province passed legislation for a levy in 2010, but it has never been enforced. The money would go to fund research in new technologies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Wall said such ideas are better than a carbon tax.
“Make no mistake — a carbon tax will harm Saskatchewan,” he said.
“Thousands of people make their living in trade-exposed, carbon-intensive industries that are especially vulnerable. Energy, mining, agriculture — the backbone of Saskatchewan”s economy — will be hit hard by a carbon tax.”
Saskatchewan will fight against a federal carbon tax being imposed on provinces “in the court of public opinion and if need be, in the courts of the land,” Wall said.