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Canada continues to play a leadership role at the United Nations Climate Change Conference by launching a global alliance to phase out coal electricity in partnership with the UK. Phasing out coal is one of many actions that will transition Canada to a clean growth economy.

The Powering Past Coal Alliance was launched with more than 25 partners, including the provinces of Alberta, British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec, the State of Washington and the City of Vancouver.

Coal is one of the most greenhouse-gas intensive ways of generating electricity, and with 40% of the world’s electricity still reliant on its use, phasing it out is one of the most important steps countries can take to meet their Paris Agreement commitments.

A coal phase-out will also reduce a major source of air pollution that harms the health of millions of people every year.  

Global investments in new renewable power now significantly surpass those in new coal-fired electricity, and clean growth represents an opportunity worth trillions of dollars.

The partners in the Powering Past Coal Alliance are working together to accelerate clean growth and climate protection through the rapid phase-out of traditional coal power. Partners also commit to supporting clean power through their policies and investments, and to restricting financing for traditional coal power without carbon capture and storage. The partners commit to making this transition in an economically inclusive way, with a just transition for affected workers and communities.

Canada will work with partners to expand the alliance to 50 partners by next fall’s United Nations Climate Change Conference.

“Phasing out coal power is good news for the climate, for our health, and for our kids. I’m thrilled to see so much global momentum for the transition to clean energy and the move away from coal power—and this is only the beginning.”

Catherine McKenna, Canada’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change said

“Reducing global coal consumption should be a vital and urgent priority for all countries and states. Unabated coal is the dirtiest, most polluting way of generating electricity. The Powering Past Coal Alliance will signal to the world that the time of coal has passed. The UK is committed to completely phasing out unabated coal-fire power generation no later than 2025 and we hope to inspire others to follow suit.”

Claire Perry, United Kingdom’s Minister of State for Energy and Climate Change said

Quick Facts

  • Canada has already announced an acceleration of the phase-out of traditional coal-fired electricity by 2030, resulting in cleaner air and healthier communities. Canada expects to publish proposed updated coal electricity regulations for public comment in the months ahead. Canada’s electricity generation mix is already one of the cleanest in the world, with over 80% of our electricity coming from renewable or non-emitting sources. Canada’s target is to have 90% of electricity from non-emitting sources by 2030.
  • In our made-in-Canada climate plan, we committed to a just and fair transition for Canadian workers. That means support for the skills and training workers need to find opportunities in Canada’s clean growth economy. 
  • The Government will work closely with the provinces and territories to attract investments in renewable energy. In addition, the Canada Infrastructure Bank has a mandate to invest in green infrastructure; this can include clean energy projects, such as interprovincial grid connections that facilitate the flow of non-emitting electricity.
  • Coal-fired electricity facilities are among the world’s largest sources of air pollution, including sulphur dioxides, nitrogen oxides, and mercury pollutants, which have significant health and environmental impacts.
  • Worldwide, the renewable energy sector employs almost 10 million people, with employment in solar and wind doubling since 2012. Job growth in the renewable energy sector is expected to more than offset job losses in the fossil fuel industry.

This press release was first published on the Canadian Government website.

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