Say Goodbye to this Stocking Stuffer…

by rrazak on November 25, 2016 - 9:53pm

Coal consumption is one of the dirtiest of all the fossil fuels that threaten our environment and health. Yet, the aritcle titled Phasing out coal: good for the environment, bad for your wallet by Global News seems to solely focus on the economical disadvantages of phasing out coal. 

The article discusses the Liberal’s governments plan to phase out coal consumption by the year 2030. The main actors include the federal government, the governments of Alberta, Saskatchewan, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia, as well as the Coal Association of Canada. The article mainly discusses the price of phasing out coal and how it will effect the economies of provinces across Canada which still burn coal. The clear objective of this article is to inform readers on how getting rid of coal will negatively impact their wallet.

The biggest concern I have with this article is that the author seems to neglect the environmental benefits of switching to alternative energy production. In this day and age, our government and the media need to accept the move towards green energy and realise that the cons outweigh the risks of dirty power generation.

The public needs to be educated on why it is important to protect our environment, as opposed to being given a narrow-minded economical perspective on how moving forward in green technology is “going to effect their wallet”. 

Yes, the public never likes hearing that they will need to pay more towards the government out of their hard-earned money. Most will probably click on an article to give them yet another reason to complain about tax increases or criticize the government. I would even argue that the title and content of this article seems like a simple attempt to get readership.

In economical terms, the article fails to discuss fossil fuel subsidies which the Canadian government gives every year to oil, gas and coal companies. The truth is that state subsidies in fossil fuel are encouraging and continuing to maintain a fossil fuel society in Canada, and providing little incentive to invest in other more environmentally friendly approaches. 

The author of this article should provide more insight on the issue rather than the usual complaints on tax increases. The article at one point suggests “investments in clean coal technologies”, but doesn’t really go into the details of it. It can be argued that clean coal isn’t really enough to steer the environment away from it’s current degradation.

The article continues on to question, “What about Donald Trump’s pro-carbon stance?” and discusses Donald Trumps support of the coal industry and how it will affect Canada’s economy if coal is phased out. Comments on the article also complain about Canada’s minuscule green house gas emissions compared to countries like India and China.

The negative impacts are clearly a result of Canada’s staples economy. It’s time for Canada to move towards green technologies. Instead of comparing ourselves to the anti-climate change movements in the US, Canada should focus on becoming a leader in combating climate change. Time is running out for discussion and power struggle over fossil fuel corporations. We need to focus on action.

 

 

 

Minsky, A. (2016, November 21). Phasing out coal: good for the environment, bad for your wallet. Retrieved November 23, 2016, from http://globalnews.ca/news/3079586/phasing-out-coal-good-for-the-environm...

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Unpacking Canada's Fossil Fuel Subsidies. (n.d.). Retrieved November 24, 2016, from http://www.iisd.org/library/unpacking-canadas-fossil-fuel-subsidies 

Nijhuis, M. (2014, April). Can Coal Ever Be Clean?. Retrieved November 23, 2016, from http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2014/04/coal/nijhuis-text

 

Picture: http://wildsight.ca/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/Garth_Lenz-6725-2000x660.jpg

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Comments

Evening rrazak,

The title of this post was really charming, but what kept me interested was the content related to clean coal. Though you made a small excerpt about it in your post, let me expand on it to hopefully shed some light so that you could better use it to your advantage for future discussions on it since I've researched extensively on it for projects in school. Clean coal is anything but clean. Without getting into the gnitty gritty, clean coal is the result of scrubbing/scrapping dangerous particles off the surface of the coal before you burn/sell it so that less of the real nasty stuff ends up in our atmosphere. But this begs the question of what happens to the particles after they scrub it off? Nothing really. We're told by coal enthusiasts that the things we use to scrub the coal, like limestone, catches the dangerous particles but if you've ever scrubbed anything like coal before, you know shavings end up everywhere and what results is people end up breathing those in. Furthermore, when it comes to clean coal the things used to scrub end up being disposed of unceremoniously. That's right, it just ends up being environmentally harmful anyways. Turns out, there's no such thing as clean coal, as you alluded to. Here's a link to the most popular method: http://www.brainstuffshow.com/blogs/how-do-coal-fired-power-plant-scrubb...

But keep in mind this too tries to paint it in the least harsh light it can. All I've been able to find are links showing that the scrubbing process isn't as bad as it sounds and that it actually helps. Must be because of the electoral campaigns recently and some of the candidates supporting "clean coal" without question. But make no mistake, clean coal is definitely just a myth and we really should just say goodbye to this stocking stuffer.

I must just start off to say your title was very engaging and humorous. You were great to analyze the authors one sided perspective of the issue. The author definitely focused on the economic downside of phasing out coal but left out important information such as the government subsidies. You explained that Canada should focus more on green energy. Do you have an preferred type of sustainable energy? I invite you to read my recent post about Tesla’s Solar panels. I have learned about the negatives of damming and nuclear so I was curious to what your thoughts might be? I thoroughly enjoyed your post though. The media can definitely report on anything to get publicity. As a population we should be moving forward and not focus on the criticism of doing so.

Link:
http://www.newsactivist.com/en/articles/management-biophysical-environme...