Posted on 01/21/2016, 11:37 am, by

The Manitoba government has entered into multiple partnerships across a number of major sectors with the goal of further reducing greenhouse-gas (GHGs) emissions to ensure the province’s environment continues to be protected for future generations.

“Our government is committed to reducing greenhouse gases and we understand that we need to work across sectors to make this happen,” said Conservation and Water Stewardship Minister Tom Nevakshonoff. “I’m pleased to see prominent representatives from across the province participating to ensure sustainable prosperity for all Manitobans.”

New partnerships include the Le Conseil de Development Economique du Manitoba, Keystone Agricultural Producers, National Farmers Union, the Manitoba Trucking Association and the University of Winnipeg Prairie Climate Centre. These organizations all stand with the province today in their commitment to reduce GHGs in Manitoba both in the short and long term, the minister said.

“It is very encouraging to see that Manitoba is investing in programs that will reduce our greenhouse-gas emissions,” said Dr. Danny Blair, co-director, Prairie Climate Centre, University of Winnipeg, a joint initiative with the International Institute for Sustainable Development. “It’s important to support initiatives that will provide Manitobans with state-of-the-art information on how our climate is expected to change in the coming decades.”

“Through our Eco-West initiative, Le Conseil de Development Economique du Manitoba (CDEM) is helping rural municipalities access standardized GHG emissions inventories and facilitating the exchange of best practices between jurisdictions,” said Dany Robidoux, director, Eco-West, CDEM. “We are grateful for the province’s support which will allow us to work further toward achieving sustainable development in the areas of energy, waste diversion, water treatment and transportation.”

These partnerships will produce tangible ways to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. Projects using the $5-million Climate Change Action Fund include:

  • creating climate change action plans and GHG inventories for municipal decision-making,
  • increasing knowledge sharing for best practices in agriculture,
  • helping the freight transportation sector apply new technologies,
  • developing recommendations on policy and regulatory framework changes,
  • increasing the use of mapping and accurate forecasting of climate changes, and
  • helping industry understand and adapt to the risks posed by climate change.

Major floods, droughts and wildfires driven by climate change have impacted the lives of Manitobans, Minister Nevakshonoff said. Reducing greenhouse-gas emissions will help stabilize the global climate over the long term and prevent even more extreme and erratic weather events in future as Manitoba continues to focus on a low-carbon economy that prioritizes green jobs, he added.

Minister Nevakshonoff also announced the release of Manitoba’s new Drought Management Strategy, one of the commitments in the Surface Water Management Strategy and Manitoba’s Climate Change and Green Economy Action Plan. The strategy will help with the understanding of drought conditions and the connection to climate change which threatens to increase the severity of future droughts. The strategy involves greater co-ordination and enhancement of resiliency measures and actions that can be taken by the many communities and stakeholders that are affected by and have expertise in drought management, he said.

“Drought management is good news for the ag sector because 35 per cent of crop insurance claims since 1966 have been a result of drought,” said Dan Mazier, president, Keystone Agricultural Producers. “Managing drought can help maintain farm production and profitability, especially because we anticipate more unusual weather patterns because of climate change.”

“We recognize that climate change challenges farmers to be more fuel efficient. We also know that with the right tools and information, we can be part of the climate solution,” said Ian Robson, co-ordinator, National Farmers Union (NFU) Region 5 (Manitoba). “This climate action initiative is an opportunity for the NFU to research and communicate the most effective ways for Manitoba farmers to reduce GHG emissions while protecting our farms from the impacts of climate change.”

Minister Nevakshonoff noted that action items have been included in the Manitoba Drought Management Strategy and will be implemented over time to increase Manitoba’s resiliency to drought and minimize the impact of future droughts. The action items include:

  • preparing regular water availability and drought conditions reports,
  • determining drought preparedness levels for each river basin,
  • undertaking studies on long-term effects of climate change on water supply and demand;
  • researching the development of drought forecasting tools; and
  • participating in trans-boundary collaborations to better manage waters during drought.

This announcement builds on recent climate change commitments such as:

  • introducing the new Climate Change and Green Economy Action Plan,
  • signing memorandums of understanding with Ontario and Quebec to link cap-and-trade programs,
  • signing memorandum of understanding with Alberta to work toward shared GHG reduction goals,
  • signing the Declaration of Premiers of Canada at the Quebec Summit on Climate Change,
  • signing the Climate Action Statement at the Climate Summit of the Americas, and
  • joining with other governments through the International Carbon Action Partnership.

These initiatives support TomorrowNow – Manitoba’s Green Plan, an eight-year plan that supports environmental protection while ensuring a prosperous and environmentally conscious economy.