Farm groups were quick to show their support as Saskatchewan Environment Minister Dustin Duncan unveiled his government’s “Made-in-Saskatchewan Climate Change Strategy” on Monday.
The province says the plan is aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to climate change, without implementing a carbon tax. (Download the strategy text by clicking here.)
“This plan is broader and bolder than a single policy such as a carbon tax and will achieve better and more meaningful outcomes over the long term,” Duncan said. “Our climate change strategy recognizes the investment and innovation that has taken place and sets out the road map for future actions.”
The strategy includes implementing sector-specific output-based performance standards on large emitters, including oil and gas, and mining. Compliance options for emitters will include making improvements at facilities to reduce emissions, purchasing carbon offsets, and paying into a technology fund.
Farmers will not be covered by these standards, but will be eligible to voluntarily participate in a new carbon offset program.
The Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan immediately issued its endorsement.
“Our members strongly believe that agriculture is key to providing solutions to managing carbon emissions,“ said Todd Lewis, who was re-elected as APAS president last week. “We also strongly reject the imposition of a carbon tax on our sector, because it will only raise our costs, without tackling the urgent problem of climate change.”
APAS is welcoming the creation of a carbon offset program.
“Canada can lead the world in designing offset and incentive policies that preserve and expand carbon sinks, and this strategy is a good start to having this conversation,” continued Lewis, adding, “APAS also supports increased research on plant genetics and agricultural technologies that will expand our ability to sequester carbon and improve efficiency.”
The Saskatchewan Stock Growers Association also gave its support, with president Shane Jahnke saying the strategy “will allow beef producers to be recognized for their leadership in fighting climate change.”
“The SSGA supports a climate change policy that keeps the beef industry competitive, while effectively managing carbon emissions,” said Jahnke. “This made-in-Saskatchewan approach gives agriculture the opportunity to be part of the climate change solution.”
The federal government says it will impose a $10 per tonne carbon tax in 2018 — rising to $50 per tonne in 2022 — if any province does not implement its own equivalent carbon pricing system.