The federal government is not planning to buy any more federal coal for any of the nation’s coal-fired power plants, saying it’s “not in a position to do so.”
The move, which has been in the works for months, comes as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli have been working on ways to address climate change, including an ambitious $20 billion climate change plan that includes an ambitious target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.
A report last week from the University of Victoria and the International Energy Agency showed Canada’s coal production was at a record high in 2020 and that there’s a need to increase coal exports in the long term to meet this need.
Coal exports from the three largest U.S. states — California, Wyoming and New York — accounted for roughly half of Canada’s total exports in 2020.
Canada exported nearly $17 billion worth of coal in 2020, the report said.
The federal government has made it clear it’s not ready to sell off its coal stocks just yet, saying in a statement that it “is not in a place to do that right now.”
The announcement comes as Canada and several other provinces are seeking to sell their coal-mining assets as part of an initiative to curb global warming.
The plan includes buying back coal mines and converting them into green energy projects.
It’s a long-shot, but Trudeau has said he wants to see “more investment in the coal sector” in the future.
He also said in a news release Tuesday that he would like to see the federal government purchase some of its coal assets.
“It’s a difficult decision for the federal Government, but it is one that we have to make,” said Trudeau.
“It is in the best interest of the country to continue to buy coal in the marketplace.”
A spokesman for the Minister of Environment, Parks and Tourism said Tuesday that the minister is “concerned” about the impact of climate change on the coal industry.
“The minister believes the coal business is the cornerstone of our economy and will continue to support it,” said Kevin Donnelly.
“The government will continue working with the industry to build an innovative coal industry in the United States, and continue to promote coal-free products.”
The Trudeau government has been working to expand coal exports to the U.K. and Canada, which will continue in 2019.
Cooperating with the United Nations Climate Change Convention will help curb greenhouse gas levels and emissions, the government has said.
Canada is one of the largest greenhouse gas emitters in the world.
Its greenhouse gas emission rates were the highest in the industrialized world last year, according to the World Resources Institute.
It also surpassed China as the world’s largest emitter in 2016.
The Trudeau Liberals have pledged to reduce its greenhouse gas pollution by 20 per cent from 2005 levels by 2030.
The U.N. Climate Change Conference will be held in Paris this summer, and Canada is expected to host the meeting.