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Canada sets final limits on coal generation emissions

Canada's federal government has issued its final regulations for governing greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired electricity plants. Environment Minister Peter Kent announced the regulations in Saskatoon on September 5, saying they "further...


Canada’s federal government has issued its final regulations for governing greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired electricity plants. Environment Minister Peter Kent announced the regulations in Saskatoon on September 5, saying they “further strengthen our position as a world leader in clean electricity production.”

However the regulations are less rigorous than previous proposals, allowing coal-powered stations to generate 420 tonnes of carbon dioxide per gigawatt hour of electricity. Proposals in 2011 had set a 375-tonne limit.

The regulations apply to new and old stations. Old stations will have 50 years from their commissioning date to comply. Stations commissioned before 1975, for example, will fall under the regulations by 2019, while those commissioned between 1975 and 1986 must meet the standards by 2029. The standards come into effect on July 1, 2015.

Coal-fired electricity is responsible for 11% of Canada’s total greenhouse gas emissions.

The federal government has committed to reducing the country’s greenhouse gas emissions to 17% below 2005 levels by 2020, and is taking a sector-by-sector approach. It has already announced emission limits for the auto sector and renewable fuels.

The Associated Press reports that some provinces — particularly the provinces of Nova Scotia, Alberta and Saskatchewan which rely heavily on coal — are negotiating