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As United States President-elect Donald Trump vows to revive the nation’s waning coal industry, the North American country’s northern neighbor announced new plans to speed up the abandonment of the powerful polluter.
The Liberal government in Canada, led by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, said on Monday that the country would stop using coal-fired electricity by the year 2030 under the new national energy strategy.
Environment Minister Catherine McKenna said that the new timeline would consider the perspectives of several provinces that have opposed federal-level anti-climate change plans. Currently, four provinces – Alberta, Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick – burn coal to power homes and business.
"Saskatchewan will be evaluating both the environmental and the economic impact on our province of today's federal government announcement," the province’s Premier Brad Wall, who claims the national government has betrayed its commitment to consult provinces on climate matters, told Reuters.
New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Alberta welcomed the new timetable more warmly. Alberta had already committed to a coal-free energy mix by 2030 before the national policy was announced. The other two provinces also supported the new policy, with Nova Scotia declaring a cap-and-trade policy to limit emissions.
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The Canadian parliament ratified the landmark Paris climate change treaty last month, which makes the coal-cutting effort a major step towards achieving the emissions reductions that Ottawa promised the international community.
South of the border, Republican Trump has promised to renegotiate or “cancel” the U.S.’ commitment to the treaty, which Congress has ratified.
Two-thirds of the more than 2,400 coal power plants currently in construction are located in India and China. Both Asian giants have come under fire for promoting the carbon inefficient fossil fuel, though China has pledged to lower its reliance on coal in compliance with the Paris agreement.
India has defended its coal use as a cheap way to bring electricity to hundreds of millions of citizens who live without power, especially in rural areas.
Zainab Calcuttawala for Oilprice.com
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Zainab Calcuttawala is an American journalist based in Morocco. She completed her undergraduate coursework at the University of Texas at Austin (Hook’em) and reports on…