The Saskatchewan government's goals to advance carbon capture and storage and renewable energy require a well-designed price on carbon emissions to be fully achievable. In his speech today, Premier Brad Wall identified both carbon pricing and innovation as two of the three approaches — along with adaptation — that governments can take to address climate change. It is important to acknowledge, however, that all three of these approaches are critical for an effective climate change strategy. Deploying clean technologies without putting a price on carbon pollution is like trying to start a canola farm without planting seeds.
The world's leading economic experts have concluded that it is critical to set a price on carbon emissions through a carbon tax or a regulatory cap to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, as this economic signal will spur development and diffusion of clean energy and energy-efficiency technologies to replace polluting ones. A strong price on carbon emissions through a cap-and-trade system or a carbon tax incentive is needed to make Saskatchewan's plans to deploy clean, renewable energy technologies a reality. Putting a price on carbon pollution is an essential foundation for an effective climate change strategy.
Premier Wall is absolutely correct in his assessment of innovation and renewable energy being critical to global action on climate change. But a price on carbon pollution, rather than standing in the way of these technologies, is the key to unlock their potential. Properly applied, a price on carbon will cut Saskatchewan's carbon emissions, clean and diversify its energy sector and put thousands of residents to work in reliable jobs in the renewable energy industry — one of the fastest-growing industries in the world, and one that is far less volatile than commodity-based energy markets.
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For more information, contact:
Steve Kux, David Suzuki Foundation