Canada takes steps to reduce their footprint by phasing out coal

Posted under Uncategorized - Jul 13th, 10

Canada has traditionally been known for not focusing enough on the environment. Tellingly, their greenhouse gas emissions have risen constantly for the last twenty years. But that could change thanks to a new plan to eliminate coal-based power plants and replace them with natural-gas sites.Environmental Minister Jim Prentice made the declaration on Wednesday, and the plan is expected to be finalized by early 2011. While older coal-fired plants would be eliminated, newer ones could be allowed to remain so long as their greenhouse-gas emissions were lowered to the same levels as natural-gas plants. Emissions not only keep heat in the atmosphere, but certain ones, like fluorinated gases, can also contribute to ozone depletion.The new standards would not mean the end for most plants until 2025, when their economic lives run down. However, Prentice insisted that no trades or offsets would be accepted if the facility did not meet the new requirements. The only analogous program in the United States is in the northeast, as part of the Regional Greenhouse gas initiative. This covers ten states and intends to lower power-plant emissions by 10 percent before 2018. Canada’s actions were thus somewhat of a surprise, since the government usually coordinated its environmental actions with the U.S.The heads of coal-fired plants in Canada have offered their support, but some, like Steve Snyder of TransAlta, say there are still issues that need to be worked out to keep the energy efficient. The world will get a closer look at Canada’s environmental issues during the G8 and G20 meetings later in the week. The G8 is a meeting of six governments of the world, and the G20 brings together economic leaders from twenty different economies, including the European single currency.

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