Alberta the new coal-burning canary – by Gillian Steward (Toronto Star – September 8, 2016)

Premier Notley’s plan to phase out coal-fired electrical plants could be a model for Trudeau to use with other provinces

Alberta is planning to phase out all its coal-fired electricity plants by 2030. Now the federal government has confirmed it wants other provinces to do the same thing.

This is a big turnaround, for sure. Alberta was never considered a leader when it came to carbon reduction strategies before Premier Rachel Notley and her NDP government were elected just over a year ago.

But now Justin Trudeau’s Liberals are using Alberta’s climate change action plan as a model for other provinces that still burn coal to produce electricity — namely Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick — and intend to keep doing so until the 2040s.

Trudeau needs those provinces to drastically reduce their use of coal for firing up electricity generators much sooner than that if the federal government is to reach its stated goal of reducing Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions by 30 per cent under 2005 levels by 2030.

He is obviously counting on the notion that if Alberta, formerly known as a “laggard” when it came to climate change policies, is taking steps to eliminate all coal-fired electricity in just under 15 years so can the other provinces.

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