Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Canada and U.K. Form Alliance to Phase out Coal to Combat Climate Change

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Canada and U.K. Form Alliance to Phase out Coal to Combat Climate Change

Article excerpt

Canada, U.K. launch alliance to phase out coal

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OTTAWA - Canada and the United Kingdom have enticed 18 other nations to adopt their mutual goal of weaning themselves off coal-fired power -- but at least two provinces are trying to negotiate their way out of the federal government's own domestic plan.

Environment Minister Catherine McKenna was all smiles Thursday as she and her British counterpart officially launched the Global Alliance to Power Past Coal at the United Nations climate change talks in Germany.

Eighteen countries, five provinces and two states signed onto the Canada-U.K. alliance.

"We're seeing huge momentum for this move away from coal and towards clean power," McKenna said in a conference call after the event in Bonn, Germany.

The world's biggest emitters, like China, the United States and India, were not there. Neither was Germany, one of the world's loudest voices in the climate change battle but whose domestic reliance on coal is still stopping it from promising to phase it out.

The alliance aims to have 50 members by the time the UN climate talks take place in November of next year. Right now McKenna has some work to do getting every Canadian province onside, let alone the rest of the world.

Only four provinces still need coal to make electricity, and McKenna said she is working with Alberta, Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick to phase it out by 2030, including offering up federal money to help. So far, only Alberta is on board and has a plan to do it.

Saskatchewan Environment Minister Dustin Duncan said Thursday he is negotiating a deal with McKenna to let his province get credit for the carbon capture and storage system it has on one coal-fired power plant to offset the emissions from continuing to use at least one other plant without such a system after 2030.

Duncan said several plants in the province would have to be retrofitted before 2030 to keep them operating, but there is one that won't hit its 50-year lifespan until 2042 and Saskatchewan has no interest in turning it off early.

"We think we're pretty close (to an agreement)," Duncan said. "My expectation is and certainly my interest is that the equivalency agreement, the wording, will be agreed to by the federal minister shortly, in the next couple of weeks. …

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