Pembina reacts to federal climate change regulations for coal-fired power

Sept. 5, 2012

TORONTO — P.J. Partington, technical and policy analyst at the Pembina Institute, made the following statement in response to the federal government’s finalized climate change regulations for the coal-fired power sector:

“Coal-fired electricity plants account for seven of Canad a’s top 10 polluters. Feasible alternatives exist today, making the electricity sector a win-win for progress on our climate and clean air commitments. Instead of seizing this opportunity, the federal government has drastically weakened its own regulations, making them only half as effective over their first ten years compared to what the government had originally proposed. Over their first two decades, the regulations will be only two-thirds as effective.

“Despite a clear need to strengthen the draft regulations that were released last August, the federal government has effectively allowed business-as-usual to continue. Major changes to the draft rules will allow the oldest and dirtiest coal plants in Canada to run for up to half of a century from commissioning without any limits to their climate pollution. When these standards do apply, they will be weaker than originally proposed.

“These changes mean Canada has gone from moving at a tortoise’s pace to a snail’s pace when it comes to regulating coal. We are missing some of the lowest-cost opportunities to curb climate change pollution and are committing Canada to a dirty electricity grid for decades to come.

“If this is the approach it will be taking with Canada’s big polluters, it’s clear the Harper government will fall short of fulfilling the climate change commitments it has made to Canadians, and to the world. If it wants to get serious about cutting pollution from coal-fired power, it will need to strengthen these regulations or complement them with more effective policy.”


Following a more thorough review of the regulations, the Pembina Institute will release a more detailed analysis, which will be made available at

For more information about coal-fired electricity in Canada, read the Pembina Institute report, The High Costs of Cheap Power: Pollution from Coal-Fired Electricity in Canada, and accompanying blog post.


P.J. Partington
Technical and policy analyst
Office: 416-644-1016 x: 3
Cell: 647-706-6648


Media release: Environment Canada Pressured to Weaken Regulations on Coal Emissions.

Blog post: Canada’s Draft Coal Regulations: a Half-Hearted Approach to Climate Change.


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