Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall outlines climate change plan as alternative to Trudeau’s carbon tax

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Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall released a climate change plan Tuesday that he is calling an alternative approach to the recently announced carbon price.

Earlier this month, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced his government’s plan for a minimum carbon price. The plan is to set a national “floor price” on carbon at $10 a tonne in 2018 that would increase to $50 a tonne by 2022.

Provinces have to meet or exceed that “floor price” either through a direct price on carbon or a cap-and-trade system.

On Tuesday, Wall released Saskatchewan’s White Paper on Climate Change.

“There are three approaches we can take to fighting climate change – adaptation, innovation and taxation,” Wall said in a statement.

“Of the three, a carbon tax will do the most harm to the economy while having the least positive impact on reducing emissions.”

Wall said technology, like Saskatchewan’s carbon capture and storage (CCS) project at Boundary Dam, is a better alternative as there are 2,400 new coal-fired power plants being planned or under construction around the world, according to a study released at the Paris climate change summit last year.

Wall’s plan includes:

    • Calling on the federal government to double funding for climate change adaptation research, planning and infrastructure, targeted specifically at areas affected by the impact of climate change, like northern communities.
    • Calling on the federal government to redeploy its $2.65-billion, five-year commitment to developing countries to deal with climate change by adding it to the existing $2-billion federal Low Carbon Economy Trust and use that funding for research and innovation in Canada to reduce emissions worldwide, with technologies like CCS and small nuclear reactors.
    • Supporting the Crop Development Centre and the Global Institute for Food Security in Saskatchewan as they work on new crop varieties that are better able to withstand climate change.
    • Partnering with the federal government through SaskPower and the International CCS Knowledge Centre to develop CCS technology for coal plants to enable post-combustion technology and securing recognition for investments made by the people of Saskatchewan through SaskPower in CCS technology.
    • Increasing SaskPower’s renewables like wind and solar to 50 per cent of its generating capacity by 2030.
    • Pushing for recognition of emission-reducing carbon offsets, like hydro exports from B.C., Manitoba and Quebec, and the carbon stored in Canada’s vast forests, wetlands and farmland.
    • When the resource economy strengthens, moving ahead with plans for a fund supported by a levy on large emitters, with the fund’s expenditures limited to new technologies and innovation to reduce GHGs and not for general revenue.

    “Saskatchewan people want to contribute to this country economically and in every way, including the fight against climate change,” Wall said.

    “But we will defend our interests. We will defend our economy that pays for the quality of life we want for all Saskatchewan people and we will fight for our interests, in the court of public opinion and if need be, in the courts of the land.”

    Since the carbon tax was announced, Wall has spoken against it frequently, saying he is considering taking Ottawa to the Supreme Court.

    READ MORE: Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall willing to take carbon fight to Supreme Court

    He also posted on Facebook earlier today saying farmers, workers and businesses are all uniting against a forced federal carbon tax that would do “serious irreparable harm to our economy, and bleed out jobs to other jurisdictions without a carbon price, like the United States, Saudi Arabia and Russia.”

    Opposition Leader Trent Wotherspoon said the Saskatchewan NDP opposes any plan imposed by Ottawa but also said Wall throwing “Twitter tantrums” doesn’t help carbon talks.