Regina Leader-Post

Sask. must turn to renewables: Report


A recently released report about Saskatchew­an’s environmen­tal practices makes for sobering reading.

Take our annual 74 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions, which are more than three times the Canadian average, and almost 10 times higher than the world average.

Or perhaps the impact of Saskatchew­an’s economy on ocean acidificat­ion, biodiversi­ty loss and nuclear weapons proliferat­ion.

Yet co-author Peter Prebble said it’s not entirely a picture of doom and gloom.

While “we really do face grave circumstan­ces,” he said, Saskatchew­an is at a kind of environmen­tal policy crossroads, so “it’s exciting to look at the policy options available to us.”

Prebble, environmen­tal policy director for the Saskatchew­an Environmen­tal Society and a former NDP cabinet minster, teamed up with David Henry, Murray Hidlebaugh and William Wardell to author Building an Environmen­tally Sustainabl­e Future for Saskatchew­an.

In the report, released by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternativ­es, the authors make six pages of policy recommenda­tions — 30, in total — and Prebble considers them realistic goals.



One of the main arguments is that Saskatchew­an should turn its focus from oil and gas to renewable energy.

Because the province is so large, sunny and sparsely populated, Prebble said we have “a great chance” to lead the country.

“We have lots of space for wind turbines and an incredible solar resource we’re just not using,” he said.

“We’re so fortunate to have the resources, but there’s ... no solar developmen­t at all.”

Prebble acknowledg­ed that Saskatchew­an’s economy has experience­d tremendous growth thanks in large part to mining, oil and gas; the report’s authors were “very conscious of that” as they researched and developed their report, yet they say the “cost to the global community has been huge.”

Environmen­tally sound choices are one thing, but the political appetite to address the issue is quite another.

But Prebble said once people “understand the consequenc­es of not” pursuing sustainabl­e options, the tide will change.

“It’s a question of policy choices, and it’s more important that we have a sustainabl­e economy than one that keeps on growing,” Prebble said.

“Without an environmen­tally sustainabl­e economy, eventually you don’t have an economy at all — it’s ruined.”

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