June 18, 2007

Sask targets largest per-capita reduction

Saskatchewan's Energy and Climate Change Plan aims to stabilize the province's GHG emissions by 2010 and reduce emissions 32% from 2004 levels by 2020. This translates to a cut of 22 tonnes per person, representing the largest per-capita GHG reduction in Canada. The plan includes a further emissions reduction of 80% by 2050, a decrease of 55 tonnes per capita.

The plan, unveiled by Premier Lorne Calvert, Industry and Resources Minister Maynard Sonntag and Environment Minister John Nilson, is built on five components, or "emissions reduction wedges" to enable Saskatchewan to move from an unchecked level of emissions and meet its 2020 and 2050 targets. These "wedges" include:

*conservation and efficiency measures by industry, business and homeowners;

*carbon dioxide (CO2) capture and storage measures in Saskatchewan's oil and gas industry and in the province's electricity sector;

*increased use of renewable energy, including wind, solar power and hydrogen, and further development of Saskatchewan's ethanol and biodiesel resources;

*reduction of methane and other emissions in the oil and gas industry, and methane and nitrous oxide emissions in the agriculture industry; and

*creation of more natural carbon sinks in Saskatchewan's forests and soils.

Among the specific measures are:

*development of a conservation program to reduce SaskPower's electricity load by 300 megawatts by 2017;

*co-operation with industry to establish E-85 (85% ethanol/15% gasoline) transportation corridors in the province;

*a provincial vehicle purchase policy requiring all vehicles to be either hybrid, alternative or flex-fuel, or high-efficiency;

*storage targets for carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) sequestration through agricultural and forest sinks, specifying the removal of over 25 million tonnes of CO2e from the atmosphere through the former by 2012 (rising to over 37 million tonnes by 2050) and reforestation of 20,000 hectares by 2017 to store 4.9 million tonnes of CO2e;

*development of a province-wide climate change adaptation strategy; and

*expansion of the provincial watershed planning process in order to better protect water supplies from the effects of climate change.

Saskatchewan's 2007-08 Budget contains $48 million to support various climate change initiatives. Crown Corporations will spend an additional $49 million. Premier Calvert also announced an additional $44.4 million over three years to fund emission reduction initiatives similar to projects that will receive support under the federal trust fund for clean air and energy efficiency projects.

Based on Environment Canada's Inventory of Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Saskatchewan generated 69.1 million tonnes of CO2e in 2004. This represented 9.1% of total Canadian emissions. The oil and gas industry accounted for 33% of Saskatchewan's annual GHG emissions, with electricity production accounting for another 24%, transportation 16% and agriculture 14%. The remaining 13% of provincial emissions came from residential and commercial heating and other industries.

The premier also noted that officials in many other jurisdictions are taking action on climate change, including governors of western U.S. states who discussed renewable energy opportunities and climate change problems at their Western Governors' Association meeting in Deadwood, South Dakota. Calvert, who attended the recent meeting, said Saskatchewan will be joining the governors' Western Regional Climate Change Action Initiative as an observer, monitoring the work on common targets for emissions reductions, and participating where it can in discussions on shared approaches and actions to combat climate change.

The Saskatchewan Energy and Climate Change Plan may be viewed on-line at www.se.gov.sk.ca/green.

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