Provinces balk at federal push to accelerate phasing-out of coal power – by Shawn McCarthy (Globe and Mail – September 02, 2016)

OTTAWA — The Liberal government is pushing to accelerate the phase-out of coal-fired power across the country as part of its pan-Canadian climate strategy, sources said on Thursday.

Ottawa made the proposal – which would move up the timeline for eliminating electricity generated at coal-fired plants from the current goal of about 2040 – at talks with the provinces on the climate plan. No new deadline has been set yet.

Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia, which include coal in their power plans beyond 2030, say such a move could leave them with worthless technology and drive up electricity rates. New Brunwick also expects to use coal until 2040, and its utility opposes an earlier deadline, which it also says could increase prices.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wants to reach a federal-provincial-territorial deal this fall, ideally in time to tout it at the United Nations climate summit in Morocco in mid-November. But some provinces worry Ottawa is pushing impractical, but headline-grabbing plans.

“The question is whether they want real strategies with long-term results, or whether they want to put something shiny in the window that would cost us billions of dollars,” said one provincial source, speaking on background because talks are ongoing.

At last year’s summit in Paris, Canada pledged to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases by 30 per cent by 2030 from 2005 levels. But the country is well short of that mark.

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