Premier Dalton McGuinty announced his climate change plan in Toronto this morning — a plan that hinges on shutting down Ontario’s four remaining coal plants, but puts the job off to 2014, seven years later than his 2003 election promise date of 2007.
By refusing to commit to phasing out coal in the earliest possible time frame, the Liberal government has produced a plan that adds more delay to efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions just as scientists are telling us that climate change is happening at faster than predicted rates. And the more time we waste, the bigger the problem is going to get.
In fact, under Premier McGuinty’s new schedule we will have to re-elect him twice — first on October 2007 and then in October 2011 — to achieve the full coal phase-out. (On the upside, the Premier has promised a legally binding regulation for the 2014 deadline.)
An early coal phase-out is the quickest and lowest-cost option to achieve a dramatic reduction in our greenhouse gas emissions and smog. Phasing-out our dirty coal plants will provide 50 to 80% of the greenhouse gas emission reductions Ontario needs to meet its Kyoto Protocol obligations.
According to the Ontario Power Authority, Ontario will need coal for less than 1% of its domestic electricity needs by 2010. In 2006, 20% of our dirty coal-fired electricity was already being exported to the U.S. Therefore, it’s clear that with some willpower and the right leadership, we can achieve an earlier coal phase-out — and significantly knock back our contribution to climate change sooner rather than later.
Please contact Premier McGuinty and tell him to issue legally binding regulations that will require the complete phase-out of our dirty coal plants by 2010. You can contact Premier McGuinty through his Web feedback form: https://www.premier.gov.on.ca/feedback/feedback.asp
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