New environment minister doesn’t know what he thinks about climate change

Herb Cox counts zebra mussels as a higher priority than greenhouse gas emissions

Moments after being appointed as Saskatchewan's new environment minister, Herb Cox told media Thursday he doesn’t really know what he thinks about climate change.

When pushed repeatedly on whether he personally believes that climate change is real, he said: “Those are the kinds of the things that I want to talk to my officials about and find out where we're at as far as the science goes.”

He told reporters the single biggest issue in Saskatchewan's environment portfolio is zebra mussels, failing to even mention the challenges of reversing Saskatchewan's record as the highest per-capita carbon emitter in the country.

“We know there are Sask. Party backbenchers and candidates who are climate science deniers – including at least one who has said it's a myth based on witchcraft reasoning – but I think it's a disgrace to appoint someone to be the environment minister who doesn’t know or won’t say if he even believes in climate change,” said Cathy Sproule, the NDP's environment critic.

Cox is the Sask. Party’s fifth environment minister. Through the previous four ministers, carbon emissions in Saskatchewan have only gotten worse. The Sask. Party literally omitted the chapter on climate change from the recent release of the Saskatchewan Environmental Code. It has also slashed funding for climate change initiatives by 85 per cent. Just last week, the government refused to debate or vote on the NDP’s bill to set ambitious but achievable targets for energy efficiency, renewable-energy production, emission reductions and green jobs.