Saskatchewan’s premier and opposition say federal net-zero emissions targets are unachievable in the province by 2035, but a National Farmers Union regional coordinator thinks we gave up too easily and the economic impacts potential might be unthinkable.
Michael Gertler is the National Farmers Union (NFU) Region 6 coordinator as well as an a*sociate professor of sociology at the University of Saskatchewan and said he was surprised by the rapid adoption of this stance against the zero target. net emission, noting that this put Saskatchewan at odds with the federal position, but also with that of almost all other provinces.
Gertler said Saskatchewan is a major fossil fuel-producing province and much of the tax and public policy decisions revolve around that industry.
He said many politicians now align themselves with people who are skeptical or deniers of climate change.
“We were perplexed, in part because the world’s top scientists tell us we are on track as a planet to increase the temperature by 2.6 degrees centigrade by the end of the century, but here in Saskatchewan we will likely see double that increase. .”
The province aims to maintain coal-fired electricity generation beyond 2030 until the end of its lifespan.
Gertler believes the Prairies have several opportunities to decarbonize electricity, saying Saskatchewan has the best solar resource in the country, good wind resources and is able to “become a clean energy powerhouse exporting renewable energy to other markets.
“Agriculture will also benefit from carbon-free electricity to operate equipment in barns, heat buildings, power water troughs and operate ventilation and ventilation fans. Clean electricity also forms the basis for the electrification of field equipment.
“Although it may be another decade before electric field equipment is available, it will certainly arrive. »
Gertler also gave the example of Iowa investing in wind energy in the early 2000s, saying it has become a major exporter of that energy by 2021, to the point of generating more than 14 million dollars per year thanks to taxes on this energy.
“Rather than rolling up our sleeves to do our part, Premier Moe and the Saskatchewan Opposition NDP have called SaskPower’s net-zero goal by 2035 ‘impossible’ and ‘unrealistic’ ” Gertler said.
On August 11, Premier Scott Moe declared the federal goal unachievable.
“It’s unrealistic. These are SaskPower’s words, not mine. Our power utility can’t actually achieve what the federal government is asking us to achieve and it certainly won’t be affordable because it will double electricity rates in the province,” Moe said.
In fashion now
In May, the Saskatchewan government set its own carbon neutrality targets for 2050, 15 years after those of the federal government.
“The federal government seems to have a different timeline than what we have proposed in Saskatchewan,” Moe said. “It doesn’t impact how we generate electricity because of the wording in the constitution.”
Moe said how a province produces its electricity is the responsibility of provincial governments.
Saskatchewan NDP Leader Carla Beck said Aug. 25 that she also believes the federal goal is currently unrealistic.
“I think the inaction over the last 16 years of this government has put us in a very difficult position. We still currently produce over 80 percent of electricity from non-renewable sources in this province,” Beck said.
“You see a government that has honestly failed to invest in renewable energy in the province. Would this have been possible if we had started twenty years ago or maybe fifteen years ago.
She stressed that emissions must be reduced.
“We certainly need to reduce emissions. There are opportunities in existing and future technologies in renewable energy, precious mineral mining and electric car batteries. I think there’s an opportunity there,” Beck said.
“I think we have a responsibility to reduce emissions. I think we all want our children’s future to include clean air, clean water and the ability to create good jobs.
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