Brad Wall is the former premier of Saskatchewan. He is currently an adviser for Osler, Hoskin and Harcourt in Calgary.
Canadian technology could clean up hundreds of coal plants around the world
Three years ago, there we were at the COP21 Paris Climate Conference: 383 Canadians strong. Our delegation was larger than almost any other country’s, rivalling even the host country’s delegation. Canada was back.
Saskatchewan was there, too, with our three-person contribution to the overall Canadian throng, though we may have been a little out of step.
Just two weeks before Paris, the Alberta government had announced its own carbon tax. The explicit and implied promise was that this indulgence paid by Albertans would purchase the absolution required to secure pipeline approvals. Saskatchewan then was alone in its opposition to a nationally imposed carbon tax. So, in Paris we were — without intention — a few prairie skunks at this low-carbon garden party.
There were other things at the conference that bemused. The massive complex that hosted the conference to save the planet from carbon was festooned by 140 very large plastic and acrylic animal silhouettes — created using carbon.
The breakout rooms, offices and larger theatres custom-built for the conference were made of pressboard — the kind that takes a lot of carbon-based energy to process. Our delegation from Saskatchewan, believing it important to maintain a sense of humour and self-awareness, dubbed it the Hall of Irony.