Environment

Leaving thermal coal behind, one victory at a time 


Final month on the COP26 summit in Scotland, the world was confronted with the stark actuality that not sufficient is being carried out to curb the local weather emergency. We have to do extra, and we have to do it instantly. This will appear to be a frightening job, latest progress within the combat in opposition to thermal coal exhibits that there’s cause for hope.

With Canada on the verge of claiming goodbye to the world’s dirtiest fossil gasoline for good — a big victory for the local weather and our well being — Ecojustice, our shoppers, and companions will proceed the combat for a sooner phase-out of thermal coal exports. However first, let’s take a second to recap and rejoice the successes which have helped convey us as shut as we’re to defeating thermal coal in Canada.

From low cost vitality supply to planetary risk

Since the 18th century, thermal coal has served as an affordable supply of vitality round the world, however the dangerous impacts of its use have lengthy outweighed the advantages.

The biggest single supply of worldwide carbon emissions, coal burning is a serious contributor to the local weather disaster. As well as, the total thermal coal provide chain, from mining to conversion into vitality, can result in violations of indigenous and group rights and set off a staggering quantity of associated environmental issues, equivalent to contamination of water sources, habitat loss and catastrophic tailings spills.

As if these environmental impacts had been not unhealthy sufficient, air air pollution from thermal coal poses severe dangers to human well being, contributing to ailments equivalent to emphysema, continual bronchitis, pulmonary irritation, most cancers, and coronary heart assaults. Around the globe, thermal coal burning is chargeable for greater than 800,000 untimely deaths every year.

How Ecojustice has helped Canada section out thermal coal

Backed by our supporters, we’ve been working since 2014 to maintain coal the place it belongs – within the floor and out of the environment. Right here is a rundown of how the Ecojustice-led authorized battles have performed a essential position in pushing Canada to abandon coal:

  • Placing the brakes on increasing Canada’s coal exports by Canadian ports
    On behalf of two residents and the grassroots teams Communities and Coal and Voters Taking Motion on Local weather Change, we launched a case in opposition to the Fraser Surrey Docks growth in September 2014. The venture aimed to move as much as 4 to eight million tonnes of U.S. thermal coal by open-car rail by Vancouver’s Decrease Mainland every year, threatening the local weather and the well being and security of communities in its means. Sure for export, that coal would have generated up to 14 million tonnes (MT) of CO2 emissions yearly.After a pitched authorized battle that lasted four-and-a-half years, the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority canceled the allow for the venture. This case was one of many first alternatives Ecojustice needed to straight problem a venture on its local weather impacts.Study extra in regards to the Fraser Surrey Docks case.
  • Making certain scrutiny of the Vista coal mine
    If constructed, the Vista coal mine growth might make Vista the most important coal mine in Canadian historical past and outcome within the annual extraction of as much as 15 MT of thermal coal, which, as soon as shipped and consumed overseas, might launch up to 33 MT of CO2 emissions. That’s why Ecojustice, on behalf of Keepers of the Water, Keepers of the Athabasca, and the West Athabasca Bioregional Society — and with the assistance of 46 different environmental, Indigenous, well being, civil society, and religion organizations, in addition to tens of hundreds of supporters such as you who signed our petition — labored to persuade then-Minister of Setting and Local weather Change Jonathan Wilkinson to require the Vista coal mine growth to be topic to a federal affect evaluation.Now, Ecojustice continues to defend the designation of the Vista mine in court docket in opposition to quite a few circumstances introduced by Vista’s house owners that try and quash the affect evaluation requirement.
  • Stopping all new thermal coal mines
    Lower than a 12 months after the Vista Mine was designated, and in response to stress from Indigenous teams, environmentalists and Ecojustice, the federal authorities  sounded a loss of life knell for thermal coal mining by requiring all new thermal coal mine tasks and expansions to present mines to be topic to an affect evaluation. Importantly in addition they , acknowledged, for the primary time, that any new thermal coal mining, together with the Vista mine growth, would have “unacceptable environmental results,” rendering future growth proposals impossible.
  • Calling on Canada to ban thermal exports
    After finalizing laws to phase-out coal burning in Canada in 2018 and putting extreme restrictions on new or expanded mines, the tip of thermal coal in Canada seems imminent. Nonetheless, the nation nonetheless exports tens of millions of tonnes of Canadian and American coal yearly by its west coast ports. Due to extra stress from Ecojustice and our group of supporters, the newly-elected federal authorities has introduced it’ll section out coal exports by 2030.

The combat in opposition to thermal coal is just not over but

Regardless of the federal authorities’s promise to behave by 2030, between 13 and 18 MT of coal are nonetheless exported by Canadian ports yearly, releasing roughly 28 to 40 MT of carbon dioxide into our environment when burned overseas. We’re in a local weather emergency and 2030 is just too late. This large quantity of air pollution severely inhibits our collective skill to satisfy the essential objective of limiting world warming to 1.5C – a temperature improve that may have already got devastating penalties for the planet.

In November 2021, together with a number of different environmental organizations, we delivered a petition signed by greater than 30,000 folks to the Prime Minister’s workplace demanding quick motion to section out thermal coal exports by no later than 2023. Ecojustice will proceed to combat till thermal coal is relegated to historical past books by pushing the federal government to undertake this extra pressing timeline and to assist doubtlessly impacted staff by the upcoming vitality transition.

Assist push Canada to ban thermal coal as soon as and for all

Wish to be part of the combat in opposition to the world’s dirtiest fossil gasoline? Listed here are a number of methods you possibly can assist:



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