Wall’s plan keeps focus on carbon capture research

  • 19 Oct 2016
  • The StarPhoenix

Wall’s plan keeps focus on carbon capture research


Premier Brad Wall’s prescription for climate change includes a hearty dose of adaptation — like heat-resistant crops that “effectively fix greenhouse gases to the soil” — and also more federal money for research and for those most affected by climate change, like remote northern communities.

But the focus of his plan, unveiled Tuesday in Regina, is research in Canada on “next-generation” carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology to clean up emissions from the more than 2,400 new coal-fired power plants that last year’s Paris climate change conference was told are being planned or under construction around the world.

Wall pulled no punches about the seriousness of climate change, but kept up an attack that Ottawa’s carbon tax is the wrong response.

The worldwide angle dominated the speech by Wall, who said the greenhouse gases (GHGs) generated by new coal-fired plants in countries like China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines would more than wipe out any gains from carbon reduction in Canada and other western countries.

That’s why “we’d better find the technology that will work in a costefficient way,” he said. Wall continues to have special ire for Ottawa’s plan for an “ill-considered, rash and risky” mandatory carbon price or tax that he claims would harm Saskatchewan and thousands of its citizens “in tradeexposed, carbon-intensive industries that are especially vulnerable,” citing the examples of farm families or those with a breadwinner at Regina’s Evraz steelworks.

“We’re all concerned about climate change, but we’d better pick the right fight,” said Wall, who repeatedly cited SaskPower’s plan to get 50 per cent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030.

He said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, in a phone conversation two weeks ago, “deflected” questions about the carbon’s tax’s economic impact on Canada or Saskatchewan without offering an answer.

Speculating on why Ottawa suddenly launched the carbon tax/ price, he said, “I’m concerned that the government, and others, want something to make themselves feel better.”

Wall added: “Saskatchewan people want to contribute to this country economically and in every way, including the fight against climate change. But we will defend our interests. We will defend our economy that pays for the quality of life we want for all Saskatchewan people and we will fight for our interest, in the court of public opinion and, if need be, in the courts of the land.”

Stating he wants to change the conversation around climate change to adaptation and technology “that actually will make a difference,” the premier wants Ottawa’s own spending in this field to double.

He also wants a redeployment of its existing $2.65-billion commitment to help other countries to cut emissions brought home to Canadian labs and to focus on projects with “the potential to reduce emissions worldwide with technologies like CCS and small nuclear reactors.”

He seeks Ottawa’s recognition of the role of “carbon sinks” — the carbon stored in Canada’s forests, wetlands and farmland.

Also needed from Ottawa is word on whether it will count Saskatchewan’s past investment on CCS here toward its carbon price, said Wall, who in a post-speech session with reporters talked about the possibility of a follow-on to the CCS project at Boundary Dam near Estevan.

And when the resource economy strengthens, he pledged a provincial fund — supported by a levy on large emitters and insulated from general government revenues — for development of new technologies and innovation to cut GHGs.




About prosperitysaskatchewan

Consultant on Saskatchewan's natural resources.

Posted on October 19, 2016, in agriculture, economic impact, miscellaneous, oil, other minerals, political, potash, uranium and nuclear. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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