The City of Regina will decide whether or not they will approve a plan for the city to become 100 per cent renewable and achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
At today’s city council meeting, council is set to discuss and vote on the Energy & Sustainability Framework.
The framework was unanimously approved by council at the executive committee last week after they heard ten delegates speak in favour.
Yvette Crane is with the Regina Energy Transition and said she is thankful the framework speaks the words of action we’ve all been waiting for.
“With this framework, Regina is taking action and planning ahead to seize opportunities related to the energy transition and to mitigate and address the challenges involved in making that transition, and we need to embrace ambitious transition; otherwise, Regina will be left behind.”
Emily Eaton, an associate professor in the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies at the University of Regina, said that we are in a climate emergency, and action needs to be taken.
“We saw atmospheric rivers in BC this year, and here in Saskatchewan, we are suffering from wildfires that are increasingly making summer the season of smoke,” she said. “All of this will get much worse if we don’t immediately act at the scale and pace of the crisis unfolding in front of us.”
Eaton stated that she is pleased to see council returning their focus to the framework to bring Regina in line with efforts in cities across Canada already.
The framework was initially discussed by council back in 2018.
“We don’t have a minute more to delay after the three and a half years that it has taken to get to this spot,” she said. “For every day of inaction, we make the path towards zero that much more difficult and indeed more expensive in the long run.”
She added that the city needs to act as quickly as possible.
“We now find ourselves with a monumental task in front of us and little time to accomplish it. The framework needs to be adopted, and the city needs to immediately start implementing the big moves and the actions identified in the report.”
Brett Dolter is, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Economics at the University of Regina, said there is also a financial cost to the city not acting.
“In 2016, the Fort McMurray fire created four billion dollars in damage; the cost of the 2021 BC Floods is estimated to be nine billion dollars or higher,” he said. “We know climate change poses this tremendous economic cost.”
“In Regina, we are vulnerable to superstorm events that could flood our city; we are also vulnerable to long-lasting droughts that could prevent our water supplies and our agriculture producers,” he said. “We will feel the health impacts from the more frequent forest fires, as smoky air becomes a norm in our summers, so doing nothing does not result in cost-saving for our community.”
The Energy & Sustainability Framework will be a part of today’s city council meeting.