Green Party of Saskatchewan
July 20, 2011
The Green Party of Saskatchewan today expressed "profound disappointment" in the outcome of Canada's annual energy and mines ministers' conference, held on Monday and Tuesday in Kananaskis, Alberta.
Party leader Larissa Shasko said, "Instead of planning for an economically and ecologically sustainable green energy future in Canada where jobs will be created and pollution reduced, the energy and mines ministers have irresponsibly chosen to go the route of increased tar sands extraction that will take Canada and the rest of the world past the tipping point of climate change.”
"In describing the Alberta tar sands as a 'sustainable major supplier of energy to the world', the ministers' communiqué distorts the English language to the breaking point. Non-renewable, high-carbon fossil fuels are by their very nature unsustainable," continues Shasko.
We are already seeing the early impacts of climate change globally in record floods, record droughts, record temperatures, increasingly severe storms, the steady decline of arctic pack ice, and the melting of glaciers worldwide. Weather is becoming more extreme - and not only in rainfall and temperatures in the prairies. This year so far has seen 900 new temperature records in the USA alone and serious drought throughout the US southwest, as well as prolonged and unprecedented floods in Colombia and the developing tragedy of drought in the horn of Africa.
Professional energy consultant Dr Mark Bigland-Pritchard, who ran for the Green Party in the federal election, pointed out that a graph used in the ministers' report to emphasise "growing global energy demand" describes the International Energy Agency's "current policies scenario", in which increased carbon dioxide emissions would result in a 6 degrees Celsius rise in global average surface temperatures by the end of the century. This would mean, amongst other things, irreversible loss of the polar icecaps, the loss to fire and die-back of most of the world's great forests, and the loss of much oceanic life through acidification. "It is unlikely", says Bigland-Pritchard, "that human civilization could continue for long in such an environment, because of unpredictable and extreme weather, the massive loss of agricultural land, the flooding of major centres of population, the inevitable wars over scarce basic resources, and the destructive impact of failed states."
The Green Party of Saskatchewan insists that such a global catastrophe is not inevitable, and that as a province we have much to gain by doing our fair share to avoid it. Bigland-Pritchard notes the 300 thousand jobs created so far in the green energy sector in Germany. "By making a radical shift to energy efficiency and clean safe renewable energy sources," said Shasko, "we could create local jobs, strengthen local economies and build local communities throughout Saskatchewan." Saskatchewan has the best solar characteristics and the best usable inland wind resource in Canada, good hydroelectric resources, substantial potential for sustainable biomass and deep geothermal energy, and massive scope for energy efficiency savings.
"Given the real enduring long-term opportunities which a green energy economy would bring," said Bigland-Pritchard, "I cannot help wondering why Brad Wall and Bill Boyd choose to pursue policies which privilege oil executives in the short term and cockroaches and mosquitoes in the longer term. They could instead be building a truly sustainable society in which our children can be proud to be citizens." "A Green government", said Shasko, "would place value on providing for our children, not stealing from them."