‘This can be a disaster’: Saskatoon organizations collect to name for motion on local weather change as COP26 ends

SASKATOON –

Dozens of people gathered outside Saskatoon City Hall on Friday in support of discussions at COP26, calling on all levels of government to treat climate change like an emergency.

“We’re looking for the government to respond more quickly and more transparently to more climate-aware policies,” said Kate Herriot, an organizer with Climate Justice Saskatoon.

Various local organizations working to address climate change took part in the rally, including the YXE Youth Climate Committee, the Saskatoon Peace Coalition and SaskEV.

“We all represent a lot of people in Saskatchewan who, no matter your interests, are passionate about making a more just transition towards a world that treats our planet and our people who are affected by climate change a lot better,” Herriot said.

“When we gather like this, we can see that we’re actually all working together.”

The rally took place the same day COP26 wrapped up in Glasgow, Scotland.

Lauren Wright, an organizer with the YXE Youth Climate Committee, had high hopes for the UN climate conference, but was let down.

“Young people such as myself are praised inside those halls, but my friends and my fellow activists weren’t even able to enter so many decision-making spaces after travelling so far to finally get this opportunity to make their voices heard,” she said

Wright and dozens of others decided to bring their voices to city hall to show people in Saskatchewan want to see action from all levels of government.

“Mainly Scott Moe, that this is a crisis, so act like it. Continuing to delay action just because it benefits you politically, that is not justice, especially for people of my generation. We are being let down and left behind every time he makes a decision to delay climate action.”

In a statement to CTV News, Saskatchewan’s environment minister, Warren Kaeding, said the province’s industries are among the most sustainable in the world.

In fact, many of the companies operating in our province are world leaders in reducing emissions and reaching net-zero, and have innovative solutions to help reduce global greenhouse emissions,” he said.

“Saskatchewan has set an ambitious target of reducing emissions from our electrical grid by 50 per cent by 2030. Wind and solar already play an important role in Saskatchewan’s power mix, and that role will continue to grow.”

Kaeding added that the federal government needs to work with provinces if it wants to reduce emissions.

Mayor Charlie Clark said the City of Saskatoon has also taken steps, including creating the largest solar farm in the city and creating more energy-efficient transportation systems.

“These are necessary steps that we have to take to make sure that there is a planet here for future generations.”

Clark said he recognizes climate change is a crisis and the work ahead won’t be easy.

“We have reliance on coal power, we have reliance on natural gas, we have a lot of carbon-intensive basis for our power and for our economy. And so, we also have to make sure that in that transition, we’re paying attention to how do we include everybody in the new opportunities and not leave people behind.”

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