8 Canada touts lead­er­ship on coal

Mon­day, Novem­ber 13, 2017 En­vi­ron­ment ad­vo­cates push Canada to do more World

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En­vi­ron­ment Min­is­ter Cather­ine Mckenna is tout­ing Cana­dian lead­er­ship be­fore she heads to Ger­many for the lat­est round of talks on the Paris cli­mate change agree­ment, where she is ex­pected to show­case ad­di­tional buy-in to the “global al­liance” to phase out coal-fired en­ergy that she cre­ated with the United King­dom last month.

Mckenna said she will un­veil new de­tails of the pact next Thurs­day at an event on the side­lines of the cli­mate talks.

This will in­clude more coun­tries and busi­nesses sign­ing on to the al­liance, which among other things will aim to help de­vel­op­ing coun­tries move from coal to cleaner en­ergy sources like wind and so­lar, Mckenna said.

“We know that coal is not the en­ergy source of the fu­ture,” she said in an in­ter­view this week.

“Peo­ple can see there are very tan­gi­ble things we are do­ing, and I think it’s also im­por­tant to show Canada’s lead­er­ship.”

The an­nual United Na­tions COP cli­mate change con­fer­ence be­gan in Bonn, Ger­many on Nov. 6. Del­e­gates from around the world are con­gre­gat­ing to dis­cuss the Paris Agree­ment, which was struck two years ago and in­cludes pledges from more than 190 coun­tries to re­duce the green­house gas emis­sions that cause cli­mate change to keep global warm­ing un­der 2 de­grees by 2100.

Mckenna, who will at­tend the con­fer­ence from Nov. 13 to 16, said Canada will high­light the “con­crete” ac­tions it has taken to re­duce emis­sions, in­clud­ing Ot­tawa’s plan to im­pose car­bon pric­ing on prov­inces that don’t al­ready have a tax or cap and trade pro­gram, as well as the planned phase-out of coal-fired en­ergy by 2030.

But en­vi­ron­men­tal ad­vo­cates say the time has come for Canada to do more, es­pe­cially as it pre­pares to take over the ro­tat­ing pres­i­dency of the G7 next year.

“Most of the poli­cies that we have on the ta­ble, we could in­crease the strin­gency,” said Erin Flana­gan, pol­icy di­rec­tor at the Pem­bina In­sti­tute. She said this round of cli­mate talks is crit­i­cal in part be­cause ne­go­tia­tors are writ­ing the rule­book for how the Paris agree­ment — which comes into ef­fect in 2020 — will be im­ple­mented.

Upon tak­ing power in 2015, the Lib­eral gov­ern­ment kept the emis­sions tar­gets that were widely lam­basted as too lax un­der the pre­vi­ous Con­ser­va­tive ad­min­is­tra­tion: 30 per cent be­low the 2005 level by 2030.

Getty Im­ages

ac­tivists demon­strate against coal en­ergy in Bonn, ger­many, ahead of the United na­tions cli­mate con­fer­ence.

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