Mckenna not fazed by U.S. stance on coal
Canada vows to phase out coal for energy
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.