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NDP proposes bill to ban coal exports

Photo: iStockphoto Coal is considered the dirtiest source of electricity, producing more emissions than other fossil fuels to produce the same amount of electricity.

Mia Rabson – The Canadian Press in Ottawa

February 14, 2024

  • Canada

Canadian exports of the type of coal used to generate electricity hit an eight-year high in 2022, even as the Liberals promised to work toward a total ban on coal exports 'here at the end of the decade.

The Liberals made this promise during the 2021 election and it was included in Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault's mandate letter in December of that year.

In the year since, Canada exported more than eight million tonnes of domestically produced thermal coal, an increase of 60% from 2021, and more than eight times what was exported in 2018 .

That year, thermal coal exports reached a low of one million tonnes, before increasing rapidly, doubling to two million tonnes in 2019, almost five million tonnes in 2020 and 5.5 million tonnes in 2021.

New Democratic Party (NDP) environment critic Laurel Collins says these numbers are simply “shocking.”

Ms Collins will introduce her own private member's bill on Wednesday to ban thermal coal exports. She said in an interview that she was going to move forward on the issue because the Liberals had not done so.

“It’s really disheartening given the impact of coal on the climate crisis,” Collins said.

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The export data was provided to Ms. Collins by the government in response to an Order Paper question she asked in the House of Commons last fall.

The response said the 8.23 ​​million tonnes of thermal coal exported in 2022 would produce 18 million tonnes of greenhouse gases. This is the equivalent of the emissions of around four million passenger vehicles in one year.

The response also included an overview of the amount of coal exported through Canada, but produced elsewhere. Most of it comes from the United States. Coal exports through Canada increased from eight million tonnes in 2015 to 14 million tonnes in 2018 and then to 10 million in 2022.

The Liberals have already adopted a policy to phase out coal-fired power plants in Canada by 2030 unless they are equipped with technology to trap and store their greenhouse gas emissions. They also co-led a global “energy beyond coal” initiative with the UK, to drive a reduction in coal-fired power worldwide.

Canada's domestic coal consumption has fallen in recent years, even before the Liberal phase-out policy, as the previous Ontario Liberal government decided to close all of its power plants in coal. Only four provinces, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, still rely on coal to produce electricity. Alberta is set to close its last coal-fired power plant this year.

However, as demand in Canada declines, international demand has exploded, setting new records in 2022 and 2023, according to the International Energy Agency.

Statistics Canada reports that since 2020, international demand for coal has been increasing to meet growing electricity needs. This demand was exacerbated in 2022, after Russia invaded Ukraine, causing natural gas prices to spike and concomitant demand for cheaper coal-fired electricity.

Coal is considered the dirtiest source of electricity, producing more emissions than other fossil fuels to produce the same amount of electricity.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116