Taking action to phase out coal power

Backgrounder

On February 16, 2018, Environment and Climate Change Canada published proposed amendments to Canada’s traditional coal-fired electricity regulations that would accelerate the phase-out of coal by 2030. This will help Canada achieve its goal of 90 percent non-emitting electricity by 2030. This forms part of the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change, Canada’s plan to reduce emissions and grow the economy developed with provinces, territories and Indigenous people.

Internationally, Canada is a founding partner of the Powering Past Coal Alliance to help accelerate clean growth and climate protection through the rapid phase-out of traditional coal-fired electricity.

Canada’s climate action on coal-fired electricity will promote the transition to a low-carbon economy and clean economic growth for Canadians.

Environmental and health impacts

Coal-fired electricity is a significant source of carbon pollution.

Coal electricity is also among the largest sources of air pollution in Canada. These harmful air pollutants include sulphur dioxides, nitrogen oxides, particulate matter, and mercury. These pollutants cause significant environmental impact, including acid rain, smog, and environmental damage.

Air pollution from coal electricity contributes to asthma and other respiratory illnesses, which have a significant impact on small children and the elderly, and add to the burden on our health care system.

Coal electricity

About 40 percent of the world’s electricity comes from burning coal, as well as 10 percent of Canada’s electricity. It is a significant contributor to climate change and a major source of air pollution that harms the health of millions of people every year.

Currently, the provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia generate a significant portion of their electricity from coal.

Ontario completed a phase out of coal electricity in 2014 replacing it with cleaner sources of power. In 2015, Alberta announced that it would phase out coal power by 2030.

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