November 15, 2006
McGuinty chokes on climate change
Premier Dalton McGuinty has given the people of Ontario an early Christmas present — a big lump of coal. Taking a leaf out of Prime Minister Harper’s playbook, the Premier has decided that Ontario can delay fully addressing the impact of coal-fired electricity generation on climate change until after the 2012 Kyoto deadline has come and gone. Today, his government backtracked once again on the coal phase out, providing only a weak commitment to “reduce” coal use by 2011 while it continues to ponder when (if ever) to fully end the use of coal.
Ending coal burning at Ontario’s coal plants would give the province 50-80% of the greenhouse gas emission reductions it needs to meet its Kyoto targets. But with coal continuing to choke our air with sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, mercury, lead, particulate matter and massive amounts of greenhouse gases for many years to come, the province stands no chance of meeting its Kyoto target.
Fortunately, there is a clean, reliable, cost-effective solution right under the Premier’s nose. Converting the Nanticoke and Thunder Bay plants’ boilers to cleaner burning natural gas would allow us to meet the Premier’s previous 2009 coal phase-out deadline without reducing the province’s electricity supply by a single kilowatt. And because Nanticoke would largely be needed only on peak summer days, this changeover would have almost no impact on the province’s natural gas demand and prices.
This is the kind of practical solution to climate change that we believe voters will be looking for in the next election. But as we’re all aware, if you want to see something done about climate change, you can’t just wait for government to act. So here’s what we’d like you to do:
- Please write to Premier McGuinty ( firstname.lastname@example.org), Progressive Conservative Leader John Tory (email@example.com) and NDP Leader Howard Hampton firstname.lastname@example.org) and ask them to endorse the conversion of Nanticoke’s boilers to cleaner burning natural gas as the No. 1 climate-change action the province can take between now and 2009.
- Then, if you agree that waiting until 2014 or longer to stop burning coal is a pretty hazy solution to climate change and smog, send Premier McGuinty back his lump of coal. All you have to do is sign up on our “Send it back” webpage at www.cleanairalliance.org/senditback and we’ll add your name to our upcoming coal delivery to Queen’s Park.
For more on how Ontario can meet its 2009 coal phase-out commitment to address climate and smog without reducing the province’s electricity supply, please see our Phasing out Coal: 2006 Progress Report at www.cleanairalliance.org.
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