Saskatchewan might be picking a fight with Uncle Sam in the latest wierd chapter of Canadian climate policy – or lack thereof.
Oil-producing Alberta and Saskatchewan just told Ottawa they will not tolerate a federal carbon system with anything more meaningful than “intensity-based” reduction targets.
No wonder. These provinces collectively have only 14% of the Canadian population yet crank out close to 45% of the emissions. So called “intensity” targets would keep the petroleum party going by allowing absolute carbon emissions to balloon for decades into the future.
Meanwhile, the Canadian government is finally being forced to draft meaningful climate policy - only because the US will impose trade sanctions if we don’t. With that ultimatum looming over Canada, the provinces presumably expect Ottawa to pass their ultimatum on to the Obama Administration.
Good luck with that.
Many lawmakers in the US might be hard pressed to find Saskatchewan on a map, let alone water down American cap and trade legislation for the benefit of a Canadian province with the same population Rhode Island.
“Depending on what comes out of Washington, the reality is the Americans may have the whip hand on this stuff,” observed Environmental Lawyer Doug Thomson. “And if they do, it’s not going to be a matter of keeping all sides happy but reflecting the reality of the situation. … We may have no choice.”
All this means Ottawa may have to deviate from the long-standing Canadian tradition of caving to pressure from regions or provinces. It also seems to be the unlikely and ignoble way in which Canada will finally get serious about climate change.