Why? Because we don’t rely on coal to produce electricity, unlike the rest of the world
What should Canada do about President Donald Trump’s announcement last week he intends to bring back coal as a major U.S. energy source, by gutting Barack Obama’s Clean Power Plan?
While Trump’s announcement attracted predictable hysteria from environmentalists, the answer is Canada should do nothing.
First, because there’s nothing we can do and second because it wouldn’t make any difference if we did.
Trump’s pledge to restore U.S. coal production as a major energy source for America is unlikely to succeed because it’s now more economical for the U.S. to use shale natural gas – which burns at half the carbon intensity of coal – to produce electricity.
Because of that, rather than anything Obama did during his eight years of posing as a “green” president, America’s use of coal to produce electricity has fallen rapidly, from 53% of all U.S. power generation in 1997, to 33% today.
But the reason was economics, not environmentalism.
As for Canada, when it comes to the single biggest source of industrial greenhouse gas emissions globally – the use of coal to generate electricity – we are the white knights of the world .
That’s because we generate less than 11% of our electricity from coal, compared to 33% in the U.S., 70% in China, 65% in India and 45% in Germany.
That isn’t because of anything Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has done, nor was it achieved through the policies of former Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
The biggest reduction in coal use in Canada in recent years, was the decision of the Ontario Liberal government, first under Dalton McGuinty and now Kathleen Wynne, to eliminate Ontario’s use of coal to produce electricity.
Whereas coal provided 25% of Ontario’s electricity in 2003, the last coal power plant in the province closed in 2014 under the Liberals, albeit seven years later than they promised.
However, contrary to claims by the McGuinty/Wynne government, this wasn’t achieved by using expensive, unreliable and inefficient wind and solar power.
That multi-billion-dollar Liberal boondoggle means Ontarians will be paying far more on their electricity bills and in increased taxes than was necessary for generations to come.
What the Liberals actually used to replace coal in Ontario was emissions-free nuclear power and low- emission natural gas.
Ironically, the gas plants now serve double duty as backup generation for wind and solar, because the latter two are so unreliable.
With Premier Rachel Notley planning to eliminate Alberta’s use of coal to produce electricity, Canada’s emissions will fall dramatically, again.
This is what makes the environmental hysteria in Canada – and the U.S. – over our oil sands so absurd.
They are a minute contributor to global warming.
The major global culprit has always been the use of coal to produce electricity, where Canada is one of the cleanest and greenest nations on Earth, because the vast majority of our electricity comes from hydro and nuclear power, not coal.
Which is why it’s always absurd when ignorant Hollywood celebrities head north to lecture us about the oil sands, unaware the dirtiest oil in North America doesn’t come from Alberta.