A re-elected Liberal government would ban the export of thermal coal by “no later than” 2030, and that extends to both domestically-produced coal and American coal transported by train to Canadian ports.
That was the pledge made by candidates Carla Qualtrough (Delta), Gordie Hogg (South Surrey-White Rock), Jonathan Wilkinson (North Vancouver) and Wilson Miao (Richmond Centre) during a press conference at Ladner’s Wellington Point Park on Monday (Aug. 30).
“Domestically we are regulating the end of coal-fired power plants in Canada by 2030. We have also stated we see no place for the permitting of new thermal coal mines, given the urgency of the climate challenge. Building on these steps we have taken to phase out the use of coal here at home, it is time the federal government acted to ban the export of thermal coal,” Wilkinson, who served as minister of environment and climate change in the most recent Liberal government, said Monday.
“With so many affordable and cleaner options available, the use of coal for producing electricity simply must come to an end, and we must show leadership both domestically and internationally.”
Qualtrough said the move follows year of talks both she and Hogg have had with constituents and advocates eager to see an end to coal trains from the United States travelling through White Rock and South Surrey on their way to the port in Delta.
”The issue of the production, transportation and export of thermal — or dirty — coal is very alive in Delta and South Surrey,” Qualtrough said.
|A train loaded with coal at Westshore Terminals in Delta. (Grace Kennedy photo)|
“For years, the people of Delta and South Surrey have been reminded of this daily, as trains with container after container of U.S. thermal coal travel through our communities to Deltaport. While efforts are made to keep the coal wet and coal dust levels low, our communities are worried about the impact on the quality of the air that our children breathe. The people of Delta and Surrey want us to ban the export of thermal coal from — and through — Canada, they see this as the next step.”
“As someone who has lived all of my life in South Surrey-White Rock and having been a mayor, a member of the legislative assembly and a member of Parliament, this is an issue that is very deep and meaningful to me,” Hogg said.
“Our family has lived along the waterfront, we’ve watched those trains go by, we’ve watched the dust of that coal and the impact that that has had on families and communities. (…) So this statement, this value statement and this goal, is a wonderful goal for our community, and indeed for our province and for our country.”
The pledge to end thermal coal exports is one part of a climate plan unveiled by Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau on Sunday.
The plan also calls for reducing oil and gas sector emissions from current levels at a pace and scale needed to achieve net-zero by 2050 — with five-year targets starting in 2025 — and requiring oil and gas companies to reduce methane emissions by at least 75 per cent below 2012 levels by 2030.
As well, the plan includes requiring that half of all passenger vehicles sold in Canada be zero-emission by 2030 (expanding to all passenger vehicle sales by 2035), building a net-zero electricity grid by 2035, and launching of a national strategy to achieve net-zero emissions from buildings by 2050.
To help meet those goals, the Liberals promise to build 50,000 electric vehicle charging station across the country, provide half a million people with rebates of up to $5,000 on the purchase zero-emission vehicles, and grants of up to $5,000 and interest-free loans of up to $40,000 to help Canadians upgrade their homes to be more energy efficient.
The plan also promises the creation of new middle-class jobs by making Canada a world leader in battery production “through measures to attract investment,” as well as other initiatives aimed at supporting and expanding the country’s clean technologies sector.
As well, a Liberal government would create a $2-billion “futures fund” to help workers in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland and Labrador, a “Clean Jobs Training Centre” and “Just Transition” legislation.
“A serious plan for the environment is a plan for the economy,” Trudeau said in a press release. “We have done more to fight climate change and protect our environment than any other government in Canadian history, and our plan has created new jobs and growth across the country. But we can’t stop now. We can’t go back to the inaction of the Harper years. A cleaner and greener future is within our reach.”