Environment minister says Alberta ahead phasing out coal

Environment Minister Shannon Phillips says Alberta isn’t concerned about an accelerated phase-out of coal-fired power plants by the federal government because the province is ahead of the game.
Environment Minister Shannon Phillips and Premier Rachel Notley after they unveiled Alberta's climate-change strategy in November. (The Canadian Press)

Environment Minister Shannon Phillips says Alberta isn't concerned about the federal government's accelerated plan to phase-out of coal-fired power plants, because the province is ahead of the game.

A news report published Friday suggested Ottawa is pushing the provinces to move away from coal-fired electricity sooner than the originally stated goal of 2040.

In last year's climate change plan, the Alberta government vowed to have all coal-fired plants taken off-line by 2030.  

Phillips said that puts Alberta ahead, regardless of what the federal government decides.

"What Alberta has done essentially is ensured that we are continuing to play offence on this matter of climate change," Phillips said Friday from Mexico, where she has been attending a climate change conference.

Phillips said Alberta's decision to end coal-fired electricity was prompted as much by health concerns as by the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

According to the Globe and Mail report, Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia are opposed to the accelerated phase-out.  

Ottawa wants to have a plan finalized in time for this year's United Nations climate change summit in November.

Phillips took part in meetings and panel discussions during the three-day Climate Summit of the Americas in Guadalajara. She also renewed the memorandum of understanding for sharing firefighting resources and training with the Mexican state of Jalisco.