GOLDSTEIN: Canada is leading the world in defusing a real carbon bomb – coal

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Although it’s rarely heard of, Canada is leading the world in reducing the use of coal to generate electricity, the largest source of energy-related greenhouse gas emissions on the planet.

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Forget the so-called “carbon bomb” of Canada’s oil sands, a favorite target of Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault and other environmental radicals.

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The oil sands account for 0.1% of global emissions, and Canada’s entire oil and gas sector accounts for 0.3%.

Canada’s emissions from all industrial energy sources, 1.5% of the global total, are too small to have a significant impact on climate change, according to Yves Giroux, budget officer for the Canadian Parliament.

In 2012, Canadian climate scientist Andrew Weaver – a lead author of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and former leader of the Green Party in British Columbia – and his colleague Neil Swart published research in Nature Climate Change concluding that it While it is important to reduce emissions from oil, including tar sands, coal is the real global carbon bomb.

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The world’s single largest source of rising emissions is the thousands of coal-fired power plants around the world, with countries like China, the world’s largest emitter, issuing permits to build two large coal-fired power plants a week.

If the rest of the world could produce electricity as efficiently as Canada without burning coal – the most carbon-intensive fossil fuel – the global problem of rising emissions would be solved.

The reason for this is that we only generate 5.7% of our electricity from and are phasing out coal-fired power plants.

For comparison: In Australia it is 75%, in China almost 60%, in South Korea more than 40%, in Germany more than 30%, in the USA 20% and in Russia 18%.

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Since 2005 – the Trudeau government’s base year for setting its emissions reduction targets – emissions from Canada’s power sector have fallen from 117.6 million tonnes per year to 51.7 million tonnes in 2021, the most recent year for which government data is available.

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That’s 56% less than 2005 emissions – far exceeding the Liberal government’s 2030 target of 40% below 2005 levels.

Canada’s coal emissions per capita were 0.79 tonnes last year, according to an independent global energy think tank

In comparison, in Australia it is 4.14 tonnes; 3.1 tons in China; 3.27 tons in South Korea; 1.77 tons in Germany; 2.02 tons in the USA and 1.01 tons in Russia.

Canada is also well below the global average of 1.06 tonnes per capita.

The reasons for our low coal emissions lie in the fact that zero-emission hydro and nuclear power are the main sources of electricity generation in Canada.

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Climate activists scoff at this, pointing out that Canada’s coal emissions are low due to a geographical coincidence – we live in a country with abundant water resources to generate electricity.

Of course, they avoid this argument when they complain that Canada is among the highest per capita industrial emitters from all energy sources.

However, this is also a geographical coincidence – we live in the second largest and second coldest country in the world with a relatively small population.

This isn’t because everyone has an oil well in their backyard.

The most effective way Canada could help reduce global emissions – as opposed to carbon taxes – would be to export our vast reserves of natural gas, the burning of which produces half as much CO2 as coal, to international markets, thereby displacing coal-fired power and benefiting Europe It would free its dependence on natural gas supplied by Russian dictator Vladimir Putin.

But because of the Trudeau government’s policies, we’re not even in the game.

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