Emissions Regulations for Coal-Fired Power are Dangerously Inadequate

The Green Party of Canada is deploring the Harper Conservatives’ dangerously inadequate emissions regulations for coal-fired power plants. “The final version of the regulations are even weaker than previous drafts, and will not do anywhere near enough to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” said Green Leader and MP for Saanich-Gulf Islands Elizabeth May. “With the reality of climate change upon us, Canada should not allow any new coal plants, period.”

The regulations permit new plants if they emit less than 420 tonnes of carbon dioxide per gigawatt hour of electricity generated – which is a significant increase from the already excessive target of 375 tonnes that was presented in earlier drafts. The time allowed for old plants to satisfy new standards has also been increased from 45 to 50 years.

“In the face of the hottest summer on Canadian record and an all-time record low of sea ice in the Arctic, the Harper Conservatives have responded with increased resource development, weakened environmental assessment legislation and shamefully inadequate regulations for one of the largest sources of emissions in Canada,” said May.

“These unacceptable regulations also set a disturbing precedent for other energy sectors, including oil and gas, and send a clear message that the Harper Conservatives are more concerned with short-term economic gains over long-term sustainability and security,” said May.

The Green Party of Canada would place a ban on new coal-fired power plants and would implement policies to replace all fossil fuelled power generation with forms of renewable energy over time. The federal government should introduce carbon pricing to create a level playing field for all forms of power generation. This strategy would bring down emissions cheaper and faster than an outdated command and control approach.

“We are already becoming a pariah on the international stage because of our failure to implement effective regulations to curb emissions,” said Elizabeth May. “We can no longer delay in setting real targets, with measurable objectives, to reduce emissions and ensure long-term energy security.”