Trudeau Government Pushes To Shut Down Coal-Fired Power Plants At Enviro Conference

REUTERS/Chris Wattie

David Krayden Ottawa Bureau Chief
Font Size:

The Trudeau government will be pushing for the end of coal-fired power plants when Canadian Environment Minister Catherine McKenna arrives at the 23rd United Nations Conference of the Parties (COP23) environmental summit this week.

The conference will examine ways to implement the climate change strategy that resulted from the Paris climate accord. President Donald Trump has withdrawn the U.S. from that agreement, arguing that it hurts the American economy.

The Trump administration is sending a small State Department delegation to the conference, where various components of the “Trump resistance” have shown up in the form of U.S. mayors and governors.

McKenna told the Toronto Star on Sunday that she is teaming up with the U.K.’s environment minister to persuade other nations to shut down all coal-fired plants and ban the construction of new ones.

The duo aim to stop developing countries from using coal as an energy resource and induce them to use solar and wind power instead.

“We know that coal is not the energy source of the future,” McKenna told the Star, adding that she views her coal initiative as a one of the “very tangible things we are doing … to show Canada’s leadership.”

COP23 actually began on Nov. 6 and runs until Nov. 17. In their ongoing discussions over the Paris climate accord of 2015, treaty nations are meeting to discuss ways they can fight climate change, largely through the lowering of greenhouse gas emissions.

McKenna told the Star that Canadians can be proud of the efforts make by the Trudeau government to reduce those emissions: including forcing a carbon tax on all Canadian provinces and promising to stop using coal energy by 2030.

The environment minister also applauded the way her government seeks financial commitment from Canadian industry to help further environmental policies.

“This is just about, how do you leverage the private sector to support the movement to clean growth,” McKenna told the Star.

Follow David on Twitter

Editor’s note: This article has been corrected to note that the U.S. is sending a delegation to Bonn for the conference.