Coal-fired Power Generation in Alberta Big Polluter
Two Alberta physicians and the Executive Director of the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment recently wrote an article on Alberta’s poor environmental record, specifically with respect to coal-fired electricity generation (Edmonton Journal). They encourage Premier Alison Redford to stop focusing on the federal government’s foot-dragging on greenhouse gas regulation, and instead to take the lead in phasing out coal-fired electricity plants in Alberta.
Dr. Joe Vipond, Dr. Raquel Feroe and Gideon Forman point out that coal is the most carbon-intensive fossil fuel and the quantity burned in Alberta to produce electricity is higher than all the other provinces put together. They write, “In 2011, this combustion resulted in more than 40 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions – roughly equal to all of those emanating from the oilsands.” They refer to A Costly Diagnosis, the 2013 report released by Physicians for the Environment, the Lung Association and the Asthma Society of Canada, which found “Alberta’s coal plants contribute to the death of more than 100 Albertans annually. They also cause 700 visits to emergency departments and more than 4,000 asthma attacks in the province each year.”
The article continues, “At its peak, Ontario’s coal fleet was about the same magnitude as Alberta’s; by the end of 2014, Ontario will no longer burn coal to make power…If Ontario can eliminate coal…surely Alberta, with its much smaller population, can do likewise.”
The article is a stinging indictment of Alberta’s environmental – and human health – record. Is it any wonder we have such a black eye nationally and internationally? Vipond, Feroe and Forman conclude the article with a challenge for Premier Redford to phase out coal-fired power in Alberta. RETA encourages its readers to read the entire article.