November 21, 2016 10:14 am
Updated: November 21, 2016 9:09 pm

Ottawa announces plan to phase out coal-fired electricity by 2030

WATCH ABOVE: Federal government looking to phase out coal power by 2030


OTTAWA – The Liberal government is moving to phase out the use of coal-fired electricity in Canada by 2030 as part of its overall clean-energy strategy.

The goal is to make sure 90 per cent of Canada’s electricity comes from sustainable sources by that time – up from 80 per cent now, Environment Minister Catherine McKenna said today.

Coal power in Alberta, Saskatchewan, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia accounts for 10 per cent of Canada’s total greenhouse gas emissions.

WATCH: Coal-fired electricity to be phased out in Canada by 2030. Mike Le Couteur explains. 

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Under the federal plan, provinces can choose to phase out coal entirely and replace it with lower-emitting sources – as Alberta is doing – or they can use carbon capture and storage technology, McKenna said.

READ MORE: Alberta applauds federal plan to phase-out coal power by 2030

The move is expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than five megatonnes by 2030 – the equivalent of taking 1.3 million cars off the road. This is in addition to the 10 megatonnes that Alberta’s early phaseout of coal represents.

Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall said his province would evaluate the environmental and economic impact of the federal announcement.

But he also accused the federal government of violating – for the second time – its commitment to work with the provinces to develop a pan-Canadian approach to climate change that would be discussed and finalized at a first ministers’ meeting next month.

READ MORE: Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall criticizes Ottawa’s plan to phase out coal-fired electricity

Saskatchewan is firmly opposed to the federal plan for a national carbon tax announced last month.

WATCH: Feds see ‘huge opportunity’ in turn away from coal power

“These actions have severely undermined the December meeting and have exposed the prime minister’s disingenuous commitment to federal-provincial collaboration,” Wall said in a statement.

Tackling climate change is both a challenge and a huge opportunity, McKenna told a news conference.

“This opportunity will attract the investments required to build the clean-energy economy that will position Canada for great success in generations to come.”

READ MORE: Many Canadians unaware of ‘magnitude of challenge’ in reaching 2050 climate goals

Canada is blessed with an abundance of hydro, wind and solar opportunities and 80 per cent of the country’s electricity already comes from non-emitting sources, she said.

“This has already positioned us as a global leader. We can always do better, though.”

France, Britain, the Netherlands, Austria and Denmark have all announced accelerated coal phaseouts, she said.

© 2016 The Canadian Press

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