The Brad Wall government is sticking to their guns and not imposing a carbon tax on the province - or at least not yet.
Released on Monday by the provincial government was a 13-page document called Prairie Resilience: A Made-in-Saskatchewan Climate Change Strategy, and within the file elected not to choose either of the federal government's choices.
Dustin Duncan, Saskatchewan's environment minister, said he believes their plan or the 'third option' is more suitable for the province when compared to the two options they were given.
"I think it's one that is a better option for Saskatchewan and it provides more flexibility based on the make-up and the nature of our economy in Saskatchewan," he said. "I frankly think that it's one that will do more to reduce emissions than the carbon tax ever would in the province of Saskatchewan."
On May 17, the federal government announced a detailed plan and backstop in case provinces didn't make one that included pricing for the carbon tax, set a starting price of $10 a tonne on carbon dioxide emissions as of January 1, 2018. That rate will increase to $50 a tonne by 2022.
Duncan, an MLA for the Weyburn-Big Muddy region, believes Justin Trudeau's government might not be ready to act on that January 1 implementation date.
"The federal environment minister indicated today they will take late into next year to evaluate all the plans across the country to see which hold up to the price the federal government has indicated would be coming in place in 2018," he stated. "Essentially they admitted today they're not prepared to impose a backstop come January 1, 2018."
Alberta imposed a carbon tax with pricing on their province as of January 1, 2017, and Saskatchewan's other border province, Manitoba will be doing the same as of January 1, 2018.
"There are going to be gas prices going up in a number of provinces including next door to us," Duncan said. "We're not going to have that issue because we're going to take time in 2018 to develop this plan."
The provincial plan unveiled today states they will hold consultations with large emitting facilities (more than 25,000 tonnes per year) in oil, gas and mining throughout 2018 and work towards improving the outputs by giving them five 'flexible compliance options'.
Flexible compliance options for large emitting facilities will be developed that will include:
Making improvements at facilities to reduce emissions intensity;
Purchasing a carbon offset, representing a reduction in GHG emissions;
Using best performance credits;
Utilizing a market mechanism outlined in the Paris Accord, such as an internationally transferred mitigation outcome; and
Paying into a technology fund.
"We needed to ensure that we're competitive (on a world stage)," Duncan explained. "Much of our economy is whether it's agriculture, mining, and oil or gas industry is in competition for world prices with many competitors in jurisdictions that will not face a carbon tax."
Duncan also said, "a carbon tax would be very harmful to our economy without actually reducing emissions, certainly for a province that is trade dependent."
According to the province's environment minister, Saskatchewan produces about 10 per cent of the nation's emissions, and Canada produces 1.6 per cent of the global emissions.