Skip to main content

Most of the coal that B.C. produces and exports is metallurgical, or coking, coal used for steel making – rather than thermal coal used to generate electricity.

And under an energy plan announced in 2007, B.C. – which relies on rivers and dams to generate most of its electricity – effectively ruled out coal-fired electricity plants by requiring new electricity sources to have "net-zero" greenhouse gas emissions.

But that doesn't mean the province is off the hook when it comes to coal-related greenhouse gas emissions, said Mark Jaccard, a Simon Fraser University economist.

Story continues below advertisement

Greenhouse gas emissions associated with increasing production of coal – even if it is not used to generate electricity – will make it more difficult to reach greenhouse gas reduction targets set by the federal government, he said.

"It's really obvious how we reduce emissions and we don't do it by continuing to take carbon out of the Earth's crust and saying, 'We'll stop doing it when the Chinese stop doing it,' " he said in a recent interview.

In September, federal Environment Minister Peter Kent announced new regulations for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired electricity generation.

Coal-fired electricity accounts for about 11 per cent of Canada's total greenhouse gas emissions.

In the United States, the combination of low natural gas prices and new environmental regulations is forcing some coal-fired generation out of business, resulting in what some industry interests call a "war on coal."

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies