It’s with great urgency that I’m writing pursuant to s. 76(3) of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 1999, to formally ask you so as to add thermal coal to the Priority Substances List, and as soon thereafter as possible, to the Toxic Substances List. It will enable the federal government to control the mining, use, export, and import of thermal coal in Canada.
We all know burning thermal coal is the one largest contributor to climate change and a significant source of toxic pollution that harms human health. My concern lies not only with saving Canadian lives, but our homes, our livelihood, our natural areas, and our infrastructure.
I commend your government for enjoying a number one role under the previous minister Catherine McKenna in establishing the international Powering Past Coal Alliance. I’m grateful on your recent decision to disclaim the province of Recent Brunswick an extension to proceed burning coal past 2030. I thank your government for the election commitment to ban the export of thermal coal from Canada by 2030. Nevertheless, given the vanishing carbon budget and the upcoming risk of going past our Paris goal of a 1.5 degrees C global average temperature increase, we imagine it is important that the export ban be enforce as soon as possible.
The explanations for my request are as follows:
1. The physical effects of climate change pose serious risks for Canadians and Canada’s wildlife, including:
a) a reduced ice cover and degrading permafrost within the north affecting community infrastructure and traditional ways of life;
b) ecosystem changes and shifts in species distribution affecting Canada’s species in danger and food supply;
c) increased frequency of drought brought on by climate change, affecting forests and agriculture, posing a risk to productivity and livelihoods;
d) more frequent heat waves and vector-borne diseases affecting health and health systems;
e) increased wildfires putting human lives in danger and posing risks to wildlife;
f) rising sea levels and increased erosion affecting coastal infrastructure;
g) more intense rainfall increasing inland flood risks, landslides, destruction of railway lines, bridges, and highways leading to disruption of supply chains, damage to urban infrastructure and housing in addition to to farmland and food production.
2. Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions have increased because the Paris Agreement was signed, making it the worst performing of all G7 nations because the 2015 Conference of the Parties in Paris, France. In 2021, the federal government announced its latest goal of a 40 to 45 per cent reduction below 2005 levels by 2030, and a latest goal of net-zero emissions by 2050. The federal government now must revisit its plans, policies and actions needed to attain these latest targets, specializing in meeting the targets, and never just planning.
Adding thermal coal to the Priority Substances List and the Toxic Substances List, then fast-tracking regulations to ban the import, export, mining and burning of thermal coal would give the federal government a jump-start toward meeting these latest targets.
I stay up for hearing how you plan to cope with my request, and your reasons for coping with it in that manner.