Breathing in the benefits

How an accelerated coal phase-out can reduce health impacts and costs to Albertans

In November 2015, Alberta joined a growing number of jurisdictions worldwide by announcing its plan to phase out coal by 2030. Coal plants release significant amounts of greenhouse gas and air pollutants, exposing human lives to unnecessary health risks.

Environment Canada first estimated the impact from coal-fired electricity on Canadians’ health in 2012 as the new federal regulation on coal plants was implemented. Extrapolating this analysis, it is estimated that, in 2015, coal power in Alberta was responsible for 92 premature deaths, 81 emergency room visits and nearly $461 million in socio-economic value of avoided health outcomes.

While the Government of Alberta announced its intention to phase out coal by 2030, a shut-down schedule has yet to be unveiled. An accelerated phase-out in a stepwise fashion, as proposed by the Pembina Institute, could avoid approximately an additional 600 premature deaths, 500 emergency room visits, and nearly $3 billion in socio-economic value of avoided health outcomes between 2015 and 2035.

 end coal now