Canada Sets Coal Phaseout Rules with Relaxed Emissions Target for Coal-to-Gas Conversions
Canada has published a set of regulations that largely eliminate coal-fired power generation by 2030 and have received praise from the Pembina Institute as “a historic step in protecting public health and sending a signal for clean energy investments”.
“Making a transition to cleaner energy helps cut carbon pollution and positions us to take advantage of the $26-trillion global opportunity presented by the transition to clean energy and climate action,” Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) says in a release.
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“Phasing out coal also reduces our exposure to harmful air pollutants from coal plants, protecting our health by improving the quality of the air we breathe,” the department adds. “Accelerating the phaseout of coal will result in 260 avoided premature mortalities; 40,000 fewer asthma episodes; and 190,000 fewer days of breathing difficulty and reduced activity in Canada by 2055.”
The release stresses Canada’s work on a just transition to ensure future opportunities for coal work forces and communities.
“With this regulation, the Government of Canada has delivered on one of its marquee climate and energy policies under the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change,” said Pembina Clean Energy Director Binnu Jeyakumar. “Globally, several governments, investors, and utilities are stepping away from coal,” and “today’s rulemaking will move Canada substantially closer to its climate target for 2030. However, these climate benefits depend upon the earliest possible conversions of existing coal units to gas plants with a limited lifetime.”
An ECCC technical paper says the regulation affects the 15 remaining coal-fired power plants across the country—seven in Nova Scotia, six in Alberta, and one each in Saskatchewan and New Brunswick. The rulemaking includes a relaxed emissions standard for coal units converted to run on natural gas and allows for “equivalency agreements” with provinces that opt to cut emissions by other means and keep their coal plants open beyond the December 31, 2029 deadline.