The Government of Saskatchewan has begun to roll out its Prairie Resilience climate change strategy.

Announced yesterday, the system called the Climate Resilience Measurement Framework is set to take 25 measures to monitor and enhance emissions resilience in the province.

Dustin Duncan, the minister of environment, and the minister responsible for SaskPower, said that the plan would be able to tell them how the province is being affected by climate change.

"We needed to have a very bold and broad-based plan for addressing climate change, and so one of the commitments that we made back, almost a year ago now, was that we would develop a resilience measurement framework so we could pick a number of different targets, a number of different areas, and be able to report back on how we're doing in being resilient to the ongoing effects of climate change."

Duncan said that yearly review of the province's emissions would also be made public due to this framework.

"We will be providing, on an annual basis, an update to the public in terms of these 25 areas, of how we're doing in terms of adapting, coping, and being resilient to the ongoing effects of climate change, we've set the 25 now, but it's not to say that in the future we might develop different measurements, or better measurements as we collect more data and have more information, and see the ongoing effects of climate change, but these are the 25 that we are doing to move forward with on an ongoing basis."

The framework will encourage the 25 sectors the government will monitor to make goals for themselves when it comes to climate change, although no punishments will be handed out due to failure to reach these goals.

In reference to the lack of incentive for sectors to follow their goals, Duncan said that the public reporting aspect would put a responsibility on the sectors for climate resiliency.

"I think the public reporting helps to raise the awareness that there are ways that communities, there are ways that the province, the government, everybody, can take part in ensuring that we are resilient to the ongoing effects of climate change, so I think that the more we report on this, the more that I think, on an annual basis, I think we'll probably make a pretty big deal about how we're doing compared to the previous year."

Elaborating further on working with communities to move towards climate resiliency, Duncan said that new opportunities for communities may be created by doing this, using flood plan mapping as an example.

"So talking with the city of, whether it's Estevan, or whoever else, to say, 'perhaps there are some dollars available within our budget, or there are federal dollars available through flood plan mapping programs, you should take advantage of that, because here's what we know, here's what the data says, here's what the last flood peak season looked like for your community, and we all experienced this together just not that many years ago, so let's work together to find some solutions.'"

Duncan stated that the program resembles a scorecard, hoping to inform decisions about climate change.

"I think that as a part of the intent of Prairie Resilience and the resilience measurement will help to inform government decisions, but also will hopefully help to inform individuals' decisions, and communities' decisions, and industries' decisions as well, so really, the intent of this is, I think, in a way, a bit of a scorecard, so to speak, and when you look at climate change plans throughout the country, it really is the first of its kind."

Commenting on the federal government's response to the Prairie Resilience plan, Duncan said it is currently being developed.

"When you compare all climate change plans across the country, it's the broadest plan, it's the most wholesome plan out of any jurisdiction, and it gets a little frustrating after a while of hearing that the federal ministers say that Saskatchewan doesn't have a plan, we have a plan, we absolutely have a plan, and this is the next step of it."

Duncan hinted that a similar climate change policy in Ontario could be a possibility.

During the next month information on how the reporting will work will be decided, and Duncan stated that further information will be provided in early 2019.

 

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