Nurses for Safe Renewable Power

Looking for a healthy environment for everyone

Closing Ontario’s coal power plants: no measurable difference to environment

Often, if you express concern about the effects of industrial-scale wind power generation, the corporate wind lobby will out you in the position of being a climate change “denier” or even someone who doesn’t care about the environment.

How interesting then to see in today’s Ottawa Citizen, a letter from the Climate Science Coalition (operative word: “science”–not something the Ontario government relies on a lot) in which it is stated that closing coal-fired power plants in Canada will make NO DIFFERENCE to air quality. In Ontario, we are using coal for about 3% of our power just now, and the plants were in the midst of a retooling for cleaner air (hundreds of millions of tax dollars) when the current government stopped the program.

Here is the letter:

Cleaner air, the right way

By Tom Harris, Ottawa Citizen February 27, 2012
Re: Environment Canada presses for urgent crackdown on coal, Feb. 22.

Environment Canada is mistaken to think that “Canadians will directly benefit from cleaner air in their communities” due to the proposed greenhouse regulations for coalfired electricity generation stations.

The government’s own analysis shows that there will be negligible, in fact immeasurable, “air quality improvements experienced by typical residents” of Canada by 2030.

Specifically, fine particulate matter pollution is forecast to drop by 0.21 per cent and ground-level ozone by 0.09 per cent for the country as a whole.

The forecast pollution reduction, according to government modelling, yields health benefits from reduced smog exposure of $1.4 billion. This is highly speculative and ignores the fact that, below certain levels, pollution often has no impact on health whatsoever. Regardless, practically all of the regulations’ $1.5 billion net present value – the gap between the benefits and the cost – is accounted for by these alleged health benefits.

If Environment Canada wants to reduce air pollution, then it should do so through regulations that concentrate exclusively on pollution.

The approach of regulating the benign gas carbon dioxide and hoping for some pollution reduction on the side is obviously backwards.

Tom Harris, Ottawa Executive Director, International Climate Science Coalition (ICSC)

© Copyright (c) The Ottawa Citizen

Read more:

So, why is government pressing for more wind power when we don’t need the elcetricity, and it won’t do anything for the environment anyway? We can only guess. But, heard last evening on Wind Wise Radio’s weekly panel discussion, this is a huge business scam to take advantage of taxpayer subsidies for no real benefit.  “It’s make the money, then run,” said one expert.

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2 thoughts on “Closing Ontario’s coal power plants: no measurable difference to environment

  1. “So, why is government pressing for more wind power when we don’t need the elcetricity, and it won’t do anything for the environment anyway? ”

    Because governments everywhere do whatever it takes to maintain support in order to get re-elected. The Ontario governments political base is in TO, so if TO wants it, the government will deliver it. Toronto wants wind turbines, so wind turbines are built, and everyone in the province pays for them. Yes, there are business people who will take the money and run, that’s what you’ve got to expect. Ontario must defeat the Liberals in the next election, and the Tories must end the wind turbine subsidies or Feed in tarrif programs. They are a colossal waste of money.

  2. Thank you for using my letter. You might want to have a look at the climate science hearing before the Canadian Senate at:

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