VANCOUVER — On the heels of government data showing that coal plants represent seven of the top ten sources of greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution in Canada comes pressure for the government to weaken its coal-fired power regulations, the Pembina Institute has learned.
A background report released by the Institute today indicates that Environment Canada could extend the lives of existing coal plants by an additional five years (from 45 to 50) and soften emissions targets by over 10 per cent (from 375 tonnes of carbon dioxide per gigawatt-hour to 425).
“Coal-fired electricity plants are one of Canada’s biggest sources of GHG emissions. There are abundant opportunities to reduce that pollution,” says Matt Horne, director the Institute’s climate change program. “This could set a terrible precedent for regulations government has promised for other sectors.”
Canada has committed to cutting emissions to 607 megatons by 2020 and the proposed coal regulations are one of its first measures for achieving this goal.
“These backward steps could reduce the overall effectiveness of the coal-fired power regulations by more than half over their first fifteen years,” says Horne. “It would have the same GHG implications as putting an additional 1.4 million cars on the road over the same time period.”
On Wednesday, Environment Canada released its annual reports detailing Canada’s emissions and their sources in 2010. The country emitted 692 megatonnes of GHGs that year, of which coal represents 11 per cent.
To learn more about what weakening the federal coal-fired power regulations could mean for GHG emissions in Canada, read the background report.
Director, climate change program