EcoLog,  6/26/2020

Sask shows some improvement on resiliency, but there's room for more

by Mark Sabourin

Saskatchewan’s second annual report against its 2018 Climate Resilience Measurement Framework shows modest improvement, with the province judging its performance “good” against 18 of 25 indicators, an increase of three over 2019. The measurement framework ranks performance as good, fair or poor. As was the case in 2019, Saskatchewan did not earn a “poor” mark on any of the 25 indicators.

Saskatchewan is doing well on indicators of economic sustainability, community preparedness and human well being. Greenhouse gas emissions associated with oil are falling, as is the emissions intensity of the provincial economy. Flood mapping is continuing among communities at risk and per capita water consumption is down.

Challenges remain on indicators related to natural systems and physical infrastructure, however. The total amount of soil organic matter accumulated in cultivated land declined in 2019, while other important indicators, such as renewable energy generation capacity and total greenhouse gas emissions from the electricity sector, remained flat.

Saskatchewan says planned investments by SaskPower, which will further its renewable energy generation capacity and operational efficiency, will contribute to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions through 2030.

The post-COVID recovery effort may present Saskatchewan and other jurisdictions with opportunities to move further along the path to resilience. The Canadian Commission for UNESCO and the UNESCO Chair on Food, Biodiversity, and Sustainability Studies at Wilfrid Laurier University released the first Position Paper on that subject on May 26, 2020. It argues that the COVID crisis has created “lever points” where short-term investments can yield long-term resiliency gains.

“Investments in distributed green energy systems, low impact social housing, green roofs, local ecological food systems, and building on Canada’s Sustainable Development Strategy through communities all take us toward a more resilient future,” the Position Paper says.

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