Activism ontario coal ban

Published on November 23rd, 2013 | by Nicholas Brown


Ontario May Ban Coal Power Outright

The province of Ontario may soon ban power plants from burning coal. This is an outright ban, nothing less.

According to CTV News, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, alongside Al Gore, announced the proposed ban, which will be introduced by Monday and take effect in 2014 if passed. Her party (the Liberals) was criticized for being indecisive and having the tendency to delay projects. For example, this ban was proposed and delayed twice in the past, and the construction of two gas power plants was cancelled as a result.

Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore (left), Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne (centre), and Environmental Defence Executive Director Tim Gray celebrate Ontario as the first jurisdiction in North America to ban coal in Toronto, Thursday, Nov. 21, 2013.
Image Credit: Environmental Defence.

There are three main costs of coal (regardless of country): the sale price that the mainstream public sees, the subsidies or tax breaks the industry gets (which researchers see), and finally, the big one: the cost of the damage caused.

We live in a world in which everyone affects each other somehow, but without taking responsibility for it. If you buy power from a coal power plant, you fund a plant which causes climate change and pollutes the air, causing lung cancer. There’s no way around that fact.

A Harvard study released in 2011 revealed the true cost of coal, putting it at about $500 billion a year in the US. The study set it at two to three times the previously stated price of roughly 9 cents per kWh. That works out to be 18 to 27 cents per kWh. Apart from that, the unquantifiable human costs of lung cancer are even more important than the financial costs.

Human life should come first, not coal industry profits. My main point: Aggressive action to reduce coal power usage is necessary.

Note that the legislation has to face opposition before it can pass.

Read more about Ontario’s electricity sources here.

Follow me on Twitter @Kompulsa.

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About the Author

writes on CleanTechnica, Gas2, Kleef&Co, and Green Building Elements. He has a keen interest in physics-intensive topics such as electricity generation, refrigeration and air conditioning technology, energy storage, and geography. His website is:

  • Jack Wolf

    This web page needs to date their posts… that’s basic journalism. I can’t figure out when this piece of legislation was proposed… its one of the 5 w’s. Thanks.

    • Zachary Shahan

      The date is in the URL. In this case, 11/23/2013. But will see if we can get it coded in somewhere on the page.

  • Markwbrooks

    That would be the PROVINCE of Ontario, not the city, but the rest of the story is about right. Unfortunately the it doesn’t really mean much as the Nanticoke generating station ( once the largest coal-burning plant in North America ) is mostly idle anyways, having been replaced by natural gas being piped in from Alberta and updated nuclear stations.
    Another much smaller station in Thunder Bay, Ont., is expected to switch to biomass ( Wood chips) over the next year purely for costs reasons ( its cheaper than importing US coal).
    The real back story is the increasing efficiency of both Ontario grid and its energy conscious consumers.

  • Ed


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