Alberta government talking climate with students, detailing coal phase-out plan

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley holds a virtual town hall with students to discuss the climate, Wednesday, March 16, 2016. Brad Gowan, Global News

EDMONTON – The Alberta government is focusing on the environment Thursday with a two pronged attack.

On Thursday morning, Premier Rachel Notley will hold a virtual town hall with more than 3,000 students across Alberta to discuss work students have done around how schools can show climate leadership.

READ MORE: TransCanada to terminate Alberta coal power contracts

Later in the day, Economic Minister Deron Bilous is scheduled to provide details about the government’s plan to phase out coal burning.

The NDP government announced in November that it planned to impose a carbon tax and phase out coal-fired power plants in order to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

READ MORE: 30 Alberta municipalities sound alarm over NDP plan to phase out coal power

The plan proposes a broad-based carbon tax of $30 a tonne by 2018 and the phase-out of coal-fired power by 2030.

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While many politicians, environmental groups and oil producers are supporting the plan, one policy analyst called it a “declaration of war on coal.” The Canadian Taxpayers Federation denounced the proposal as an “unfair hit” to families, businesses and rural communities.

The CTF cited a government-commissioned climate change report that suggests the new tax could cost the average household $900 per year in 2030 if the pricing increases at two per cent above inflation.

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