Mckenna not fazed by U.S. stance on coal

Canada vows to phase out coal for en­ergy

StarMetro Toronto - - Canada -

En­vi­ron­ment Min­is­ter Cather­ine Mckenna says Canada is go­ing full-steam ahead with its push for a global al­liance to elim­i­nate coal-fired elec­tric­ity, and that she isn’t con­cerned the United States — with its pro­coal pres­i­dent — is trum­pet­ing an op­po­site ap­proach.

Mckenna, who is in Bonn, Germany for the 23rd an­nual United Na­tions climate change con­fer­ence this week, told re­porters that Canada will work with coun­tries and sub-na­tional play­ers like busi­nesses and Amer­i­can states that “un­der­stand that we need to power past coal.”

She played down the sug­ges­tion that Canada’s po­si­tion would cre­ate fric­tion with the U.S. as the coun­tries get set to re­sume strained ne­go­ti­a­tions to change the North Amer­i­can Free Trade Agree­ment.

“The U.S. ad­min­is­tra­tion has taken a dif­fer­ent po­si­tion from the rest of the world when it comes to ac­tion on climate change un­der the Paris Agree­ment,” Mckenna said, re­fer­ring to Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s an­nounce­ment in June that the U.S. will drop out of the global pact to curb green­house gas emis­sions and stop global warm­ing be­yond 2 de­grees this cen­tury.

Canada is set to launch that al­liance with the United King­dom from the side­lines of the climate talks on Thurs­day. The goal is to bring in other like­minded gov­ern­ments that will com­mit to phase out coal-fired elec­tric­ity. Mckenna said last week that more coun­tries are set to join the al­liance.

But those ap­proaches con­trast sharply with the di­rec­tion of the United States. Aside from Trump’s past state­ments that climate change is a “hoax,” his ad­min­is­tra­tion has also promised to boost the flag­ging U.S. coal in­dus­try.

The U.S. is the third-largest coal con­sumer in the world, af­ter In­dia and China, which is re­spon­si­ble for roughly half of global de­mand for coal, ac­cord­ing to the en­ergy sta­tis­tics tracker, En­er­data.

Canada, mean­while, has com­mit­ted to phas­ing out coal-fired elec­tric­ity by 2030, as it pushes to meet its Paris Agree­ment tar­get to re­duce green­house gas emis­sions to 30 per cent be­low the 2005 level in that year.

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