Saskatchewan Announces Plan to Address Climate Change


Saskatchewan announced its plan to address climate change and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the province yesterday. Prairie Resilience: A Made-in-Saskatchewan Climate Change Strategy (the Plan) commits the province to build resilience to climate change in Saskatchewan’s: (i) natural systems; (ii) physical infrastructure (including electricity, transportation, homes and buildings, technology and innovation, large industrial emitters, and upstream oil and gas industry); (iii) community preparedness; and (iv) measuring, monitoring and reporting. It appears to take a combined direct regulation and market-based regulatory approach to do so and includes a multi-factor resilience target and metrics to ensure progress and accountability.

Key Features of the Plan

  • developing annual GHG reporting regulations for industry that apply to all emitters of more than 25 kt CO2e, with a voluntary opt-in provision for emitters over 10 kt CO2e;

  • implementing sector-specific output-based performance standards on facilities emitting more than 25 kt CO2e per year coupled with flexible compliance options to allow these facilities to meet their compliance obligations;

  • introducing regulations governing GHG emissions from electricity generation by SaskPower and independent power producers and methane from the oil and gas sector;

  • updating the province’s electricity dispatch methods to facilitate dispatch of cleaner energy and meeting the province’s goal of generating 50% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030;

  • investigating the feasibility of energy storage services to expand renewables capacity;

  • developing an agriculture- and local community-focused offset system that creates value for actions that result in carbon sequestration, especially in soils or forest;

  • developing draft guidance in conjunction with the Canadian Securities Administrators to require climate-related financial disclosures by publicly-traded companies based in Saskatchewan;

  • adopting the 2015 National Building Code and 2015 National Energy Code for Buildings;

  • developing a technology fund to further enable investment in innovation; and

  • expanding the Trucking Partnership Program to increase fuel efficiency in freight hauling and creating a freight strategy to improve delivery times, reduce fuel use, and increase efficiency.

Measuring Resilience

The plan emphasizes building resilience to climate change and includes a model of measures that the government intends to use to assess Saskatchewan’s resilience to the effects of climate change. The model measures determinants across five categories: natural systems, physical infrastructure, economic sustainability, community preparedness and human well-being.

Examples of specific determinants include:

  • percentage of cultivated land managed under zero/low-tillage practices;

  • percentage of storm water systems constructed to accommodate more extreme precipitation events;

  • percentage change in crop insurance premiums attributable to weather events;

  • percentage of forest communities meeting standards for FireSmart fuel management; and

  • percentage of First Nations and Métis communities engaged in climate change vulnerability assessments.

The weight, resilience score, and target for each measure have yet to be determined.

Next Steps

Saskatchewan will:

  • Proclaim or amend enabling legislation.

  • Release additional documents for consultation.

  • Hold consultations to refine the Plan and develop the performance standards.

  • Release regulations and guidance documents and introduce resilience measures and regulatory standards.

  • Establish reporting structures.

  • Begin implementation by January 1, 2019.

Click here for The Plan and here for the Government’s short summary.

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