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Canada to end coal-fired power generation by 2030

Image credit: Tony Webster

Canada has pledged to end the use of coal in electricity generation by 2030 in line with its commitment to the Paris climate change agreement.

The plan, announced on Monday by the country’s Liberal government, is likely to hit opposition in some of Canada’s provinces, which still heavily rely on coal-fired power plants.

“Our goal is to make Canada’s electricity 90 per cent non-emitting by 2030,” said Canadian environment minister Catherine McKenna.

The government did not elaborate on how it plans to replace coal-fired generation but experts believe the country will rely largely on the hydropower resources concentrated in some of its provinces including British Columbia, Quebec and Manitoba.

“I’d expect a mix of natural gas and renewables to benefit,” said Joe Aldina, from PIRA Energy Group.

Alberta, Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick still rely on coal to generate electricity. According to McKenna, the government expects some of these polluting power plants to remain operational beyond 2030 if equivalent emission reductions could be achieved elsewhere.

New Brunswick and Nova Scotia welcomed the announcement, with the latter’s premier announcing a separate cap-and-trade system to regulate emissions, conforming with the federal plan on the matter.

Alberta’s climate change minister Shannon Phillips said the province is unaffected as it already has a coal-cutting plan with the same timeline.

On the contrary, Saskatchewan’s premier Brad Wall, who has long opposed federal plans for a price on carbon, said McKenna’s government has violated a commitment to work with provinces on environment matters.

Canada’s stance is in sharp contrast to that of US President-elect Donald Trump, who according to insider information seeks to quit the Paris Agreement as soon as possible in order to boost the US oil and gas sector.

The UK government has pledged to end the use of coal in electricity generation by 2025.

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