Toronto – Environmental Defence welcomed the federal government’s announcement today of $400 million for fast-start climate financing, assuming it is additional to existing international funding, but criticized the parallel announcement on phasing out of coal fired electricity. Most of global warming pollution reductions the federal government projects appear to come from an existing commitment by the Ontario provincial government to shut its coal plants.
“The federal government is surfing on the hard work being done in Ontario to shut down coal,” said Dr. Rick Smith, Executive Director of Environmental Defence. “Ontario will be doing two thirds of the work to meet today’s announced goal, meaning other provinces aren’t doing their fair share.”
The government says it is moving towards regulations on coal fired power plants, and claims that the regulations will reduce global warming pollution by 15 million tonnes. This net change comes from a 43 million tonne reduction from coal power generation between 2005 and 2020, and a 28 million tonne increase in gas and oil-fired generation during the same time period to compensate. According to Environment Canada, roughly 63% of the coal reduction will come from Ontario’s existing commitment to close all coal plants, 14% will come from Alberta and 9% from Saskatchewan.
The announcement also points to new coal plants being built, at a time when Canada needs to rapidly transition to clean energy instead of investing in more polluting fossil fuel facilities.
 
“Ottawa has said that it expects tar sands emissions to grow by 80 million tonnes from 2005 levels by 2020, which is more than five times the savings it is claiming with today’s announcement,” said Smith. “We welcome the move to regulate this sector, but there is no way we will meet even the modest targets the current government has set for us until there is a comprehensive clamp down on polluters from every sector.”
About Environmental Defence (www.environmentaldefence.ca): Environmental Defence protects the environment and human health. We research solutions. We educate. We go to court when we have to. All in order to ensure clean air, clean water and thriving ecosystems nationwide, and to bring a halt to Canada’s contribution to climate change.
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For more information, or to arrange interviews, please contact:
Jennifer Foulds, Environmental Defence, (416) 323-9521 ext. 232; (647) 280-9521 (cell)