Canada’s left-wing government announced plans Monday to virtually eliminate the use of coal-fired electricity by 2030.
The left-wing plan accelerates efforts originally created by a Conservative government in 2012 for the four provinces which still get some electricity from coal to create a system to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions or shut down the plants entirely.
“Taking traditional coal power out of our energy mix and replacing it with cleaner technologies will significantly reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, improve the health of Canadians, and benefit generations for years to come,” Catherine McKenna, the country’s environmental minister, told The Globe And Mail.
McKenna declined to provide any estimates on how much the plan would cost consumers. About 9.5 percent of Canada’s electricity supply comes from coal, according to government statistics.
The Canadian government is apparently willing to negotiate some agreements that would allow several plants to stay open during winter, when demand for electricity is extremely high, as long as equivalent CO2 emission reductions are achieved elsewhere.
Global coal prices more than doubled over the last year due to regulatory changes in the Chinese steel industry, which has caused a small renaissance in the U.S. mining industry, despite President Barack Obama’s efforts to stifle it. The price of coal in Australia and China has soared by 150 percent since this time last year, according to a graph compiled by Bloomberg.
America has 400 fewer coal mines than it did when Obama was elected in 2008, demonstrating the president has followed through on his pledge to “bankrupt” the coal industry.
A 2015 study found the coal industry lost 50,000 jobs from 2008 to 2012 during Obama’s first term. During Obama’s second term, the industry employment in coal mining has fallen by another 33,300 jobs — 10,900 of which occurred in the last year alone, according to federal data.
Currently, coal mining employs 69,460 Americans, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Much of the blame for job loss is targeted at federal regulations aimed at preventing global warming, which bankrupted coal power plants.
Last year, both coal and natural gas power provided about 33 percent of all power generated in the U.S., and nuclear power generated another 20 percent, according to data from Energy Information Administration (EIA). The same year, wind and solar power only accounted for 4.7 and 0.6 percent of all electricity generated in America respectively.
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