Home Health The climate resilience report shows high emissions but works to adapt

The climate resilience report shows high emissions but works to adapt

Minister Dustin Duncan

TROY FLEECE / Queen Leader-Post

Saskatchewan has published data on how it is meeting its climate change goals, most of which focus on adapting to the damage expected from a warming world.

In its first report on climate resilience, the Ministry of Environment reported "good" progress on 15 of the 25 goals. Seven measures have been given "fair" status, while there are not enough data for the remaining indicators.

The report is part of the Prairie Resilience climate change strategy in Saskatchewan, which the province has touted as an alternative to federal policies, such as the coal block that came into effect this year.

The report examined data on the province's natural systems, infrastructure, economy and the preparation of the community for climate change, as well as measures of how prepared the people of Saskatchewan are for their impact on water and on diseases.

It also examined the province's greenhouse gas emissions, which are currently the highest per capita in Canada. But the climate resilience report stated that they have fallen since total economic production since 1997.

They have also rebounded since 2013, however, and remain far above the Canadian average.

The government predicts that the intensity of emissions will drop while Saskatchewan pushes forward with energy efficiency improvements, coal-fired power generation regulation and its heavy emitter pricing system that exceeds emissions benchmarks of the sector, according to the report.

The report has also indicated reductions in emissions from combustion and gas leakage from oil production and is anticipating further progress with the entry into force of the new regulations. He also took note of SaskPower's efforts to generate up to 50% of electricity from renewable sources by 2030, saying that the province is "on track" to meet it.

But most of Saskatchewan's power still comes from coal and natural gas. The report actually notes an upward trend in emissions produced by electricity production between 2005 and 2017.

Premier Scott Moe has repeatedly praised Saskatchewan farmers for being dedicated environmental administrators, and the report highlights the work done on progressive farming techniques.

It notes that 5.59 million tons of organic soil material is seized in cultivated land throughout the province, due to techniques such as zero up to agriculture. It also boasts that Saskatchewan is maintaining 19.93 million acres of agricultural land under permanent cover.

The relationship carries the word "resilience" for a reason. The Saskatchewan plan has always been more focused on preparing for climate change as an apparent inevitability.

It is expected that climate change will exacerbate extremes of both wet and dry climate in some areas, suggesting the need for better water resource management and oil scrub preparation.

The report notes progress in the installation of updated culverts to prepare for floods and the expansion of the number of communities with forest fire plans.

A warming climate could also increase the range of pests. The province has set targets for monitoring mosquitoes carrying West Nile virus and conducting surveillance on Lyme disease.

Progress on both measures has been classified as "fair" in the report.

awhite-crummey@postmedia.com

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