Open letter: challenging Brad Wall’s climate denial

When the Saskatchewan legislature opened for business again on May 17th, Brad Wall’s Speech from the Throne included the following paragraphs:

But it is troubling that today, there are some in this country who, given the opportunity, would shut down major parts of Saskatchewan’s economy and put thousands of hard-working Saskatchewan people out of work, all in the name of some misguided dogma that has no basis in reality.
There are those who are not comfortable with and even oppose much of what we produce in Saskatchewan and how we produce it – oil and gas, coal and uranium, livestock and grains.
They would prefer that those sectors did not exist and that the thousands of jobs in those sectors did not exist.
They look at those jobs like they are somehow harming the country and the world.

Quite apart from the general tone of paranoia, this looked very much like denial of the science of climate change. In response to a national petition and some national media coverage, Wall’s spokespeople said that no, it was only criticising the Leap Manifesto.

Given that the Leap Manifesto is itself based on scientifically understood climate reality – and Brad Wall’s policies aren’t – we think this makes no difference. So we need to keep up the pressure – and push Brad Wall to tell us what he really believes about the climate crisis, and stop blocking real climate action.

To do that we asked people to sign on to the following letter and got more than 250 signatures in a matter of days.

An open letter to Premier Brad Wall from concerned citizens

Premier Brad Wall
226 Legislative Building
Regina, Saskatchewan
S4S 0B3

May 24, 2016

Re:  climate change

Dear Mr. Wall,

In your Speech from the Throne you referred to “some in this country who, given the opportunity, would shut down major parts of Saskatchewan’s economy and put thousands of hard-working Saskatchewan people out of work, all in the name of some misguided dogma that has no basis in reality”.

This is a serious accusation, and the people of Saskatchewan deserve a full and detailed explanation.  As a public servant, it is your duty to tell us: (i) who are the people about whom you are making this accusation, and (ii) the nature of the alleged “misguided dogma”.

We are not clear whether you are insulting and misinterpreting (a) climate scientists, (b) the renewable energy and energy efficiency industries, (c) informed citizens who are calling for an orderly decades-long transition to clean energy, or (d) Indigenous people protecting the land and water with which they have been in relationship since time immemorial.  Or, indeed, some combination of the above.  Whichever is the case, it seems an extraordinary step for a premier to take.

It would help us all if you were to answer a few questions as to your understanding of the climate crisis.  These are not merely rhetorical questions:  we want answers from you as our chief public servant:

  • Do you accept the scientific consensus that the earth is warming, that consequently the climate is changing in diverse and potentially devastating ways, and that this results primarily from human activity in the form of greenhouse gas emissions?
  • Do you acknowledge that our dependence on fossil fuels is responsible for the majority of greenhouse gas emissions?
  • Do you agree or disagree with the well-established findings of climate science that global warming results in more frequent and more extreme weather events, including droughts, floods, heat waves, forest fires, etc, as well as sea level rise?
  • Do you accept the detailed research on these climate change impacts which resulted in the key commitment of the Paris Accord to “holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels, recognizing that this would significantly reduce the risks and impacts of climate change”?
  • Do you accept that Saskatchewan, like all jurisdictions worldwide, has a responsibility to take action commensurate with that ambitious but necessary goal?
  • Do you accept the finding of climate scientists that, in order to remain below either of these temperature limits, total future emissions must be limited to a strict global “carbon budget”? – and that the best scientific estimates for the size of this budget mean rapid reductions starting now, and an end to the fossil fuel economy worldwide around mid-century?
  • Are you aware that, if the budget for the (higher) 2 °C limit were shared out equally worldwide, Saskatchewan would blow through its share in about 4 years at its current rate of emissions?
  • Are you aware that Saskatchewan has the best solar resource and the best inland wind resource in Canada, and is one of the few places in the world where significant quantities of biomass energy could be produced in a sustainable way?
  • Are you aware of the enormous potential for job creation in clean renewable energy industries? – according to one recent report, between 6 and 9 times as many jobs per unit of investment than the oil industry. Canada already employed more people in greentech than in the Alberta bitumen sands even before the price volatility of oil precipitated mass lay-offs last year.
  • Do you recognize the right of Indigenous people to say no to development proposals which threaten their land and water?

We look forward to hearing your answers.

Climate Justice Saskatoon

26 thoughts on “Open letter: challenging Brad Wall’s climate denial

Add yours

  1. As the premier of the province where I live, i would appreciate your leadership on the issue of climate change and changes in the way we do business and with who, rather than running from reality and denying what we all know to be true. Climate change is real and we are at least partially responsible and not only can but must take step to alleviate some of the effects, and we must shift from oil based energy and economy to a renewable energy base.

  2. Great letter Mark and company.

    I hope you get hundreds of signatures. You can add both mine, Candyce Paul and Marius Paul.

  3. Saskatchewan has a responsibility to future generations. So it follows that as citizens we find alternatives. Time to serve the people not corporate interests.

  4. You need to listen to the people that you are “representing” and actually listen to what they say.

  5. Some other countries and jurisdictions in the world are living proof that an economy based on sustainable development ( renewable energy production etc.) is much more lucrative in the long run. All that is needed is a government and population that has the foresight and vision needed to implement it. Even my dog quits barking up a tree when she realizes that the squirrel has gone. Let our pets teach us a lesson ! We all hope that we can put our differences aside and do what is right to benefit the quality of life for future generations of this planet. It will be a worthwhile investment. Thanks.

  6. I am surprised and disheartened that an elected leader would make these comments. It is a known fact that climate changes are happening due to the use of fossil fuel. Please do your homework and get alternative, clean energy. Jobs will be there for those who can work in this area.

  7. Premier Brad, you could lead the way rather than muddy the waters with YOUR OWN “misguided dogma” — the term you use for Climate Change. You are certainly aware that climate change has been substantiated by leading scientists globally. The health and education of Sk citizens would improve significantly and lots of jobs would be available if you get going on alternate energy sources! Thanks!

  8. Devastating phenomena like that in Fukushima, Japan which led to the meltdown of reactors and radioactive material which still drains uncontrollably into the Pacific Ocean have proven that uranium development has no place in a civilized society. Climate change has caused drought in northern Africa, superstorms in the Pacific, a winter like no other in Saskatchewan in my memory and I have lived here over sixty years. If you think we can ignore these realities and continue the exploitation of resources such as oil and gas and uranium, you are living in a dream world. Other countries have fared well on renewables with many more jobs created and healthier economies. Only North America refuses to give up its dependence on fossil fuels. This is largely because our leaders do not lead, they manipulate according to the wishes of the fossil and uranium industries.

  9. Premier Bradley Wall, had your 2016 speech been made back in 1966, one may have been impressed by your rhetoric and encouraged by your singular focus on the economic strength of saskatchewan . But alas it is 2016 and for many of us out naïveté is gone. Saskatchewan, Canada, and indeed the whole world is reeling from the impact of an economic philosophy that divorces morality from business and government. With the sole focus on growth. So harshly so, that our current Canadian government can justify the sale of 15 Billion dollars worth of weapons (jeeps!) to be used against the people of Saudia Arabia by their own government. Because. . . It means jobs for Canadians. The current government of Saskatchewan, under your leadership, aggressively pursues and supports the development of industries that science and reason have deemed destructive to the very fabric of the systems that support human life on his planet. Because. . . It means Jobs and “keeping Saskatchewan Strong”.
    It is no surprise that instead of sounding like the compassionate, moral, leader of the people of this province you sound like the CEO of a corporation.
    Premier Wall, it would be my hope, that these questions would water the seeds of your dormant moral responsibility and awaken in you the clear sighted recognition that we need to “Leap” out of our current malaise into a new wholistic approach to this beautiful planet and the precious life unfolding here.

  10. Brad Wall
    Time to start acting like a leader and not an oil company puppet like Harper if you can’t respect the people of our province and ultimately our planet than step aside and and you corrupt clown show

  11. Please add our names: John Gascho & Rhonda Hildebrand Gascho, Osler, SK

  12. This is a thoughtful, considered and challenging letter for Mr. Wall. Thank you. His position is factually wrong and absolutely disheartening. I hope you and we, the people of Saskatchewan, will receive an honest and encouraging response from him to your questions. May this letter require him to “think again”.

  13. Coal is much more polluting than oil, so SaskPower should be required to close the coal mines and the workers should be transferred to clean energy production. Brad Wall thinks that he is doing his duty re climate change with carbon sequestration, but that is extremely expensive and the C02 is used to thin heavy oil in order to make it easier to refine. This is a self-defeating answer to limiting harmful emissions; in fact it encourages the use of oil when we should be moving away from it.

  14. Business as it has happened in the past, needs upgrade to the now and the future. We need your help. Most of what we are doing has something to do with scientific discovery and we as a province need not have selective hearing on this, with the overwhelming evidence, regarding climate change. We need to upgrade our stance, or for sure we will be left behind, in a new economy and a part of the continued problem. Embarrassment will become available, but there is more at stake. Please fall in love with this planet, soon..

  15. As one who was born in Saskatchewan, and no longer resides there but has followed climate change for over a decade, I am overwhelmingly happy to see that this letter is being written and that Mr. Hall is being challenged. He can not be allowed to stand in the way of Minister McKenna’s Canadian climate action plan coming out this fall.

    Getting quite late on climate action

  16. You are missing one very important point. Yes, we are are going through climate change. But it is a naturally occurring event that has happened throughout history. Global warming per se is a hoax to bring in a new world order. The actual warming is due to the weather modification / geoengineering AKA SRM solar radiation management or global dimming. In other words we are being sprayed daily with a horribly toxic concoction of heavy metals and Biologicals. Please just look up in the and you will see the endless lines and X’s or the continuous White Dome. Our skies are naturally a deep purple blue and most of the so-called cloud formations you see are being sprayed from Jets that are neither accountable or registered.

    1. Cassandra, it appears that you can’t make up your mind. Is climate change “a natural event that has happened throughout history” or is it “due to weather modification / geoengineering / SRM”?

      As it happens, neither explanation makes sense of the data:

      – Previous changes in climate can be explained by natural phenomena – predictable periodic variations in the earth’s orbit, variations in solar output, volcanoes, etc. This one can’t. When scientists add up those effects it produces a graph of temperature against time which is very very different from what has actually been happening. But when they then add in the well-known heat-trapping effects of increasing concentrations of carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, etc, they get a graph which fits remarkably well.

      – As for SRM, that is a technique which has been proposed to reduce solar gain, and so it would have precisely the opposite effect from what we are observing.

      So, Cassandra, your argument is not coherent. I am curious, though, as to why you believe any of it.

  17. I wrote an editorial about Brad Wall’s shaky climate stance for the Moose Jaw Times Herald prior to the recent provincial election. Count me in. I wholeheartedly endorse this letter.

  18. Our former Conservative Prime Minister did so much damage to Canada’s environmental protection laws, ignoring the science and good examples put forth by other nations to reduce carbon emissions in order to “keep our economy strong,” regardless of the cost to our future. Brad Wall and the Saskatchewan Party are continuing to ignore the facts about climate change as well as our responsibility to take action on the matter. It seems to me that these oil-invested politicians are more interested in making money for themselves than having the truly best interests of their constituents or the planet in mind. These guys will seemingly do anything to propagate the myth of how wonderful the oil industry is for Canada so long as they continue to get rich doing it. This needs to end and I am fully in support of this letter.

  19. You can add my name: Aron Knudsen, my wifes name, Teagan Knudsen and most importantly my 3 year old son Paxton Knudsen and my 5 month old daughter Nellie- both of whom will be living on this planet dealing with the results of our provinces actions, or lack of action toward climate change.

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