Canada supports the global transition to clean and secure energy with investments to phase-out coal electricity around the world

News release

November 15, 2022 – Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt

Coal power is the largest global source of greenhouse gas emissions driving climate change. Powering past coal is one of the single most important climate steps the world can take. In a year upended by a global energy crisis, Canada is partnering with governments, institutions, and philanthropies to drive the transition to safe, secure, and affordable clean energy.

Today at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27), the Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Canada’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change, announced significant progress being led by the Powering Past Coal Alliance, as well as exciting new climate finance initiatives which are accelerating coal’s phase-out around the world.

Along with the United Kingdom’s Right Honourable Graham Stuart, Minister Guilbeault announced the release of “Powering Past Coal,” the first global review of the state of coal phase-out. The Report’s release marked five years of progress by the Powering Past Coal Alliance, a global alliance of governments and industry co-led by Canada and the United Kingdom. They announced that the Powering Past Coal Alliance has now reached over 165 members strong and helped ensure that over 75 percent of coal power in Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development member countries is retired or scheduled to close by 2030.

The Report reveals that the end of unabated coal power is undeniably underway and is making progress, despite current energy supply challenges and geopolitical instability. The Report highlights solutions that countries are taking to phase-out coal-fired electricity. Canada is cited as a leading example, with the last coal-power plant in Alberta scheduled to close next year—seven years ahead of schedule. The report was launched alongside new analysis by the International Energy Agency that shows coal power has effectively plateaued over the last decade and is set to dramatically decline as governments enact net-zero commitments.

Minister Guilbeault also announced new strategic partnerships between the Powering Past Coal Alliance and the global health community, including the Global Climate and Health Alliance and the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment, as well as the Carbon Disclosure Project and the Southeast Asia Energy Transition Partnership—a multilateral platform supporting clean energy transition in the Philippines, Indonesia, and Vietnam. Over 30 financial institutions representing more than $17 trillion in assets have joined the Alliance, committing to robust policies to curb coal power finance that are consistent with the United Nations’ Race to Zero Campaign—the world’s largest coalition of organizations aligned with net-zero goals.

On top of the progress of the Powering Past Coal Alliance, Minister Guilbeault announced two new initiatives helping developing countries transition to clean energy, funded under Canada’s $5.3 billion climate finance commitment:

  • $5 million for the Southeast Asia Energy Transition Partnership to support coal phase-out in Indonesia, the Philippines, and Vietnam. The Southeast Asia Energy Transition Partnership is a unique partnership of philanthropies and governments that provide expertise to support ambitious energy transition pathways in the Southeast Asia region.
  • $5 million to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development to support its Clean Energy Finance and Investment Mobilisation program. Clean Energy Finance and Investment Mobilisation helps emerging economies attract private sector investment in clean energy. Clean Energy Finance and Investment Mobilisation is currently operating in Indonesia, Vietnam, Columbia, India, Thailand, the Philippines, and Egypt.

These targeted contributions complement existing Canadian investments that are already having an impact in developing countries. For example, through its Clean Energy and Forests Climate Facility at the World Bank, Canada is supporting the Komati Just Energy Transition Project that will repurpose a recently decommissioned coal-powered station into a renewable generation site in Mpumalanga, South Africa. This project will serve as a model for similar coal power retirement and repurposing projects around the world.

Canada is also partnering with other countries and other donors to establish Just Energy Transition Partnerships in emerging economies. These Partnerships will bring coordinated finance to ambitious energy transition plans developed by the host countries themselves. At this year’s G7 Summit in Elmau, Germany, leaders agreed to work toward partnerships with India, Indonesia, Senegal, and Vietnam.

Quotes

“Consigning coal to history is one of the best ways to ensure a clean, sustainable future. Since 2017, the shared experiences of Powering Past Coal Alliance members have demonstrated that moving away from coal power is not only possible, but cost-effective and more sustainable. Here in Canada, our legislated net-zero emissions commitment, price on carbon, and upcoming clean electricity regulations put us on track to end unabated coal power by 2030.”

– The Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Co-  
    Chair of the Powering Past Coal Alliance

“It’s a great pleasure to welcome new members to the Alliance, which has done so much to drive remarkable progress on coal phase-out over the past five years. A future without emissions from coal power is achievable, but it is vital that more governments and organizations join the Powering Past Coal Alliance, setting ambitious coal phase-out dates, to secure a just and secure clean-energy transition.”

– The Right Honourable Graham Stuart, United Kingdom’s Minister of State for Climate and Co-Chair of the Powering Past Coal Alliance

“We know that jurisdictions heavily reliant on coal can wean themselves off of it quickly, given the right supportive policies, as seen in the very rapid Ontario and Alberta Coal Phase Outs. Our organization, being involved in these successes, is excited to lend our expertise and support to the Powering Past Coal Alliance so that these Canadian success stories can be replicated around the world, as it must if we are going to prevent true climate calamity.”

– Dr. Joe Vipond, President of the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment  

Quick facts

  • Coal is responsible for twenty percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, and is the largest single source of global temperature increase. Global coal emissions must fall by eighty percent this decade to keep on track to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

  • A recent analysis found that more than 800,000 people around the world die each year from the pollution generated by burning coal. 

  • More than seven out of ten proposed new coal projects were cancelled worldwide since 2015.

  • Last year, Canada committed $1 billion to the Climate Investment Funds’ Accelerating Coal Transition Investment Program, and $25 million to the World Bank’s Energy Sector Management Assistance Program through its international climate finance contribution. These investments are helping developing countries transition from coal-fired electricity to clean power as quickly as possible.

  • In phasing out coal-fired electricity, Canada is committed to achieving a net-zero electricity grid by 2035. The 2022 Fall Economic Statement proposes a refundable tax credit equal to 30 percent of the capital cost of investments in electricity generation and storage systems, low-carbon heating systems, and industrial net-zero vehicles. It also included tax measures specific to hydrogen and carbon capture, and utilization storage.

  • The Government of Canada is currently developing the Clean Electricity Regulations to guide the country’s transition to a net-zero electricity grid. A draft regulatory framework was released in July 2022 for consultation. The proposed regulations and a cost-benefit analysis will be published for a formal consultation period in the coming months. Once finalized, the regulations will provide regulatory certainty that will support a competitive economy and the continued delivery of reliable electricity to Canadians while keeping costs for households and businesses affordable.

Associated links

Contacts

Kaitlin Power
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change
819-230-1557
kaitlin.power@ec.gc.ca

Media Relations
Environment and Climate Change Canada
819-938-3338 or 1-844-836-7799 (toll-free)
ec.media.ec@canada.ca

Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Twitter page

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