Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Wednesday November 23, 2016
Continental contrast with Coal
Canada plans to phase out most coal-powered electricity plants by 2030, Environment Minister Catherine McKenna announced Monday.
By speeding up the timeline for closing coal-fired plants, which spew more pollution than most other fossil fuels, the country expects to reduce its carbon emissions by 5 megatons, or the equivalent taking of 1.3 million cars off the road. Coal makes up nearly three-quarters of the Canadian electrical industry’s greenhouse gas emissions, and over 8 percent of the country’s total carbon footprint.
Roughly 80 percent of Canada’s electricity currently comes from zero-emission sources, McKenna said. Under the new regulations, that number should increase to 90 percent over the next 14 years. Other countries, including Austria, Denmark, France, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, have also accelerated their plans to wean themselves off coal, according to The Wall Street Journal.
But the move comes as the U.S., Canada’s largest trading partner, seems set to scale back environmental regulations and bolster the coal industry once President-elect Donald Trump office next year.
Trump campaigned hard in coal country, promising to put miners back to work by slashing pollution restrictions and scrapping President Barack Obama’s Clean Power Plan, which would have forced the utility sector to use more renewable energy. Most of the coal industry’s biggest players have gone bankrupt over the last two years, in large part because of ill-conceived bets on the future of Chinese economic growth. Even coal barons who backed Trump admit the coal industry isn’t coming back. (Source: Newsweek)