Out with the coal, in with the new
On November 21, the federal government committed to eliminate the use of coal in Canadian power plants by 2030.
According to a new Metcalf-funded report released by the Pembina Institute and a coalition of health and environment organizations, this decision will likely prevent over a thousand premature deaths across Canada and result in billions of dollars in health benefits.
Out with the coal, in with the new: National benefits of an accelerated phase-out of coal-fired power finds that pollutants from our existing coal-burning power plants are drifting into neighbouring provinces. These pollutants are known to produce heart and lung diseases, aggravate asthma, and increase premature deaths and hospital admissions.
Federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna referenced the Pembina report’s research during her announcement of the government’s coal phase-out, noting that in 2014, pollution from coal power resulted in more than 20,000 asthma episodes.
Key facts from the Report
- A national phase-out of coal-fired power by 2030 will avoid 1,008 premature deaths, 871 emergency room visits, and produce nearly $5 billion in benefits between 2015 and 2035.
- Coal-fired power represents over 70% of emissions in Canada’s electricity sector, while providing only 11% of the country’s electricity.
- The electricity sector is responsible for approximately 12% of Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions.
- Currently, there are 35 coal power units across Canada, in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.
- According to the Government of Canada, in 2014, coal plants were 10 of the top 17 sources of sulphur dioxide in Canada, 10 of the 14 top sources of nitrogen oxides, and 3 of the top 5 sources of mercury.
Related Materials & Media Coverage
Phasing out coal could prevent over 1,000 premature deaths, says report
CBC News, Nahlia Bendali Amor
November 22, 2016
Ottawa to phase out coal, aims for virtual elimination by 2030
Globe and Mail, Shawn McCarthy
November 22, 2016
The Government of Canada accelerates investments in clean electricity
Office of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change
November 21, 2016