The Government of Canada welcomes new Powering Past Coal members and announces support for phasing out coal at home and abroad

News release

December 13, 2018 – Katowice, Poland

Countries need to phase out coal if we are to meet our Paris Agreement targets. Pollution from coal has major repercussions on our environment, our health, and on people. Phasing out coal in Canada alone will reduce carbon pollution by 12.8 million tonnes, by 2030. This reduction will have lasting benefits for Canadians by protecting the air we breathe, leading to an estimated 260 avoided premature deaths; 40,000 fewer asthma episodes; and 190,000 fewer days of breathing difficulty by 2055.

Making the transition to cleaner energy helps protect our health, reduces carbon pollution, and provides job opportunities in the future clean-growth economy. The transition will be a powerful engine for economic development and job creation. Clean growth is a $26 trillion economic opportunity and has the potential to create 65 million jobs around the world.

Canada, with the United Kingdom, is leading the way to help countries phase out coal in a sustainable way through the Powering Past Coal Alliance. Today, we welcome Senegal, Israel, Scotland, the cities of Melbourne and Sydney, and ScottishPower to the Powering Past Coal Alliance—bringing the total number of members to 80, only one year after its launch. As previously announced, Canada is investing up to $275 million through the World Bank to further advance global efforts to phase out coal and to help developing countries, particularly in Asia, increase renewable energy alternatives.

We are also helping Canadians make this important transition at home, having already taken steps to reduce reliance on coal-fired energy. These efforts are already making a difference, including in Ontario, where the decommissioning of coal-fired power plants saw the province reduce the number of smog days from 53 to zero. At the same time, ensuring a Just Transition for our coal workers and communities is a priority. That’s why we launched the Just Transition Task Force with labour, business, and civil society to understand and minimize the impacts on workers and communities. The coal regulations we announced yesterday also ensure coal facilities can transition to cleaner sources of electricity, providing stability and good job opportunities in this sector.

These measures will also support our goal to have 90 per cent clean electricity across the country by 2030. By supporting a Just Transition at home and abroad, we are not only doing right by our planet and protecting our health, we can also support our communities and create good jobs for the middle class.


“We need to ensure a healthy and prosperous future for our kids and grandkids. By cutting pollution and making the clean-energy transition, we protect our air, our communities, and our health. Canada is already taking initiatives at home, which reduce pollution and help people save money. By helping others do the same abroad, we are not only doing right by our planet, but we are also unleashing the huge economic opportunity of clean growth.”

– Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Canada

“The UK and Canada have truly led the world in powering past coal, with the UK going more than 1,700 hours without coal this year. But climate change is a global problem, which requires a united response. This World Bank fund, backed by £20 million from UK government will allow world-leading expertise to be shared globally to encourage developing countries to move away from coal power and embrace renewable energy, helping them to save the planet while giving their economies a vital boost.”

– Claire Perry, Minister of State for Energy and Clean Growth, United Kingdom

“The World Bank helps countries build robust, sustainable energy sectors, based on national policies and decisions taken by governments. In some cases, this may mean closing coal mines as part of a long-term strategy. We are committed to working with governments to exit coal production in a way that protects people’s livelihoods and the environment.”

– Riccardo Puliti, Senior Director and Head of the Energy and Extractives Global Practice, World Bank

Quick facts

  • Canada is providing $2.65 billion in climate finance to developing countries by 2020–21, with a particular focus on the poorest and most vulnerable.

  • Today’s announcement builds on the partnership with the World Bank, announced in December 2017, at the One Planet Summit (in Paris).

  • In 2017, Canada and the UK co-founded the Powering Past Coal Alliance to help spur global clean growth and increase climate resilience through the rapid phase-out of unabated coal-fired electricity.

  • Phasing out coal is estimated to lead to $1.3 billion in combined health and environmental benefits from air-quality improvements, from 2019 to 2055.

  • In 2005, coal generated approximately 16 per cent of electricity in Canada. By 2016, that number dropped to 9 per cent. Yet coal-fired electricity is responsible for 72 per cent of Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions from the electricity sector.

  • Canada’s electricity-generation mix is already one of the cleanest in the world. By phasing out coal-fired electricity early, Canada strives to have 90 per cent of electricity from non-emitting sources by 2030.

  • Jobs in Canada’s low-carbon economy are expected to grow. Already, more than 270,000 Canadians work in environmental and clean-technology activities. These activities also contributed around $60 billion (3 per cent) to Canada’s GDP in 2016.

  • Canada will provide up to $275 million to the World Bank to create the Energy Transition and Coal Phase-Out Program. This program will assist a select number of developing countries, particularly in Southeast Asia, to phase out their dependence on traditional coal-fired electricity generation while supporting energy-efficient and renewable-energy alternatives to power their fast-growing economies. The Program will also mobilize private-sector financial resources for climate action and provide training and employment opportunities for women in clean-energy sectors.

Associated links


Caroline Thériault
Acting Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change

Media Relations
Environment and Climate Change Canada
819-938-3338 or 1-844-836-7799 (toll-free)

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