McKenna trolls coal dur­ing U.S. event

Medicine Hat News - - NATION -

OT­TAWA A U.S. ef­fort to stoke the fires of coalpow­ered elec­tric­ity didn’t escape the at­ten­tion of Canada’s en­vi­ron­ment min­is­ter Mon­day as Cather­ine McKenna used her Twit­ter ac­count to troll the car­bon­based fuel just as Amer­i­can of­fi­cials were ex­tolling its virtues.

McKenna is in Bonn, Ger­many, for the 2017 United Na­tions cli­mate change talks, where the rules for im­ple­ment­ing the 2015 Paris ac­cord are be­ing ham­mered out — and where she and Bri­tish coun­ter­part Claire Perry hope to con­vince the world to aban­don coal-fired power.

By con­trast, the United States — with Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump at its helm — has fa­mously promised to “end the war on coal.”

Hav­ing de­clared his in­ten­tion to pull the U.S. out of the Paris ac­cord, Trump dis­patched Ge­orge David Banks, his special as­sis­tant on en­ergy and the en­vi­ron­ment, to Bonn to host an event pro­mot­ing coal, nat­u­ral gas and nu­clear en­ergy, as well as tech­nol­ogy that can re­duce their im­pact on the en­vi­ron­ment.

The In­ter­na­tional En­ergy Agency fore­casts global de­mand for coal and nat­u­ral gas will not di­min­ish over the next 25 years, Banks said Mon­day. Coal al­ready pro­duces two-fifths of the worlds en­ergy sup­ply, and an­other 1,600 coal plants are in the works right now. And by 2040, South­east Asia will get half its power from coal plants.

“With­out a ques­tion, fos­sil fu­els will con­tinue to be used and we would ar­gue that’s it’s in the global in­ter­est to make sure that when fos­sil fu­els are used, that it’s as clean and ef­fi­cient as pos­si­ble,” Banks said.

He ac­knowl­edged as “provoca­tive” the de­ci­sion to pro­mote fos­sil fu­els at an in­ter­na­tional cli­mate change con­fer­ence, but ar­gued that while re­new­ables have a bright fu­ture, much of the nec­es­sary in­no­va­tion to store and trans­mit power from wind and so­lar sources is still in its in­fancy.

“Be­fore that in­no­va­tion is re­al­ized, the idea that the world can some­how meet am­bi­tious mit­i­ga­tion goals, sup­port de­vel­op­ment in poor coun­tries the way we should and en­sure en­ergy ac­cess by only de­ploy­ing so­lar and wind is naive.”

All the while, McKenna was on her Twit­ter ac­count, ex­tolling the virtues of al­ter­na­tives to coal in a se­ries of tweets that stood in sharp con­trast to the U.S. po­si­tion.

“Burn­ing coal re­spon­si­ble for 41 per cent of our global emis­sions,” McKenna tweeted.”The largest sin­gle source world­wide. Phas­ing out coal rep­re­sents a mas­sive op­por­tu­nity and #Cli­mateAc­tion.”

Coal, she con­tin­ued, is “the most pow­er­ful fos­sil fuel in the world. We must all work to­gether to get off fuel and tran­si­tion to cleaner forms of en­ergy.”

Some 23 coun­tries, states and ci­ties

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