Media Statement: February 12th, 2014
Green Party MLA Andrew Weaver USes Motion to Open Coal Debate
For Immediate Release
Victoria BC – Andrew Weaver tabled a motion to amend the throne speech today in the Legislature, opening a debate on thermal coal exports from British Columbia. The motion, should it pass, would amend the throne speech to include the following:
Notice to Amend a Motion – And that this, the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia, recognizes that climate change is one of the greatest issues facing our Province and that this government’s commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions is inconsistent with the current expansion of United States-sourced thermal coal exports coming through British Columbia’s harbours, and therefore calls upon this government to follow the lead of our Pacific Coast Action Plan Partners, Washington, Oregon and California, and explore all means by which the government may halt the further expansion of thermal coal exports in British Columbia.
BC is expected to increase coal exports to 65 million tonnes by the end of 2015, The province only produces around 30 million tonnes of which the majority is metallurgical coal used for steel manufacturing in Japan, Korea and China. The other roughly 40 tonnes is a mix of thermal and metallurgical coal, mostly originating in the US and Alberta.
The vast majority of thermal coal is trans-shipped from mines in Alberta and the Powder River Basin in southern Montana and northern Wyoming. Over the last decade the amount of thermal coal being shipped through BC has risen dramatically. Thermal coal now accounts for somewhere between 30 to 40% of all coal exported through BC ports, and the number is expected to rise.
“In Tuesday’s throne speech the government stated LNG exports would reduce greenhouse gas emissions in China. Increasing thermal coal exports through BC is completely inconsistent with that message. We need a debate here in the Legislature, and a conversation around the province on our energy future, the impact that will have on climate change here in BC, and around the world.” Said Andrew Weaver
The United States has signalled its intent to reduce dependency on coal fired power generation, moving to natural gas and renewable energy sources. California, Oregon and Washington State have asked regulators to include the impact of greenhouse gas emissions both in the US, and internationally, before approving export licenses.
In October BC signed on to a new Pacific Coast Action Plan on Climate and Energy with Washington State, Oregon and California. A provision in the plan requires the signatories to cooperate with national and sub-national governments around the world on climate action.
Mat Wright – Press Secretary Andrew Weaver MLA
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