Gloom Unwarranted in Saskatchewan

Oped - Oct. 6, 2009 - By Clare Demerse

Published in The Star-Phoenix (Nov. 6, 2009).

Good news. The doom-and-gloom scenario your editorial, "Leaving energy future to the U.S. dooms Prairies" (SP, Nov. 4), describes for Saskatchewan is fiction.

Instead, the Pembina Institute/David Suzuki Foundation study you cite shows that Saskatchewan can cut its greenhouse gas pollution while creating nearly 50,000 net new jobs in the next decade.

The editorial states Saskatchewan's economy would shrink if the province tackles climate change. That's simply incorrect: Our analysis shows the economy would grow by two per cent annually while meeting the federal government's current emissions target, producing a GDP 22 per cent higher in 2020 than in 2010.

We also found that Saskatchewan would gain more jobs while meeting that target than it would under business-as-usual. That's a long way from "throwing Saskatchewan under the bus." In fact, it's exactly the same economic growth rate that our study projects for Ontario and Manitoba.

You also accuse us of "discounting" nuclear energy. We counter that the editorial discounts renewable energy -- an area where Saskatchewan has a natural advantage as the home of some of Canada's best wind and solar resources.

The message that Saskatchewan residents want serious investments in renewable power came through loud and clear at the recent Uranium Development Partnership consultations.

Some critics, including your editorial board, have called our study unrealistic. There's no doubt that it's far ahead of the positions of the federal and provincial governments. But we believe that you can't overlook the realities of physics.

Greenhouse gas emissions are changing the climate and Canada must meet this challenge head-on. "Business as usual" simply isn't an option. Luckily, our analysis found economic growth and opportunities for Saskatchewan in moving to a cleaner future.

Clare Demerse is the associate director of the Pembina Institute's climate change program. The Pembina Institute/David Suzuki Foundation study, entitled Climate Leadership, Economic Prosperity, is available from www.pembina.org/pubs.


Clare Demerse

Clare Demerse was the director of federal policy at the Pembina Institute until 2014.


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