Gateway Gazette

Alberta Recognized for Commitment to Improving Air Quality

The Asthma Society of Canada has named Environment Minister Shannon Phillips recipient of its 2016 leadership in public policy award in recognition of Alberta’s commitment to improving air quality.

“On behalf of the Government of Alberta, it’s a great privilege to accept the Asthma Society of Canada’s award for leadership in public policy. Phasing out coal emissions by 2030 and improving air quality is a key part of our plan to address climate change and we’re honoured that the society is recognizing our efforts.”

Shannon Phillips, Minister of Environment and Parks; Minister Responsible for the Climate Change Office

27154909152_3e67c95a31_zAs part of its Climate Leadership Plan, government has committed to phasing out coal emissions by 2030. The goal is to achieve up to 30 per cent renewable energy by 2030 by working with Alberta’s electricity generators, and the Alberta Electric System Operator.

“Through this award, we are pleased to recognize the commitment made by the Government of Alberta to eliminate coal power emissions in the province.  This bold policy decision will ensure that Albertans, especially those with asthma, have clean air to breathe.”

Vanessa Foran, President and CEO, Asthma Society of Canada

According to data from Environment Canada published under the federal government’s coal GHG regulations in 2012, Alberta accounted for close to 70% of the health related impacts due to burning coal for electricity generation nationwide. By phasing out coal, it is estimated that over the next 20 years:

  • 590 premature deaths could be avoided
  • 530 ER visits and hospitalization could be avoided
  • 80,000 asthma episodes could be avoided
  • And 1.9 million days of breathing difficulty and reduced activity could be avoided

27154905532_cc3ec2d31a_kAlberta will accomplish its transition with policies that fit with Alberta’s unique market and without compromising the reliability of the electricity system. It will ensure consumers and taxpayers are protected, communities and workers are supported, and companies and investors are treated fairly throughout this transition.

On May 24, the Government of Alberta introduced Bill 20, the Climate Leadership Implementation Act, which implements key elements of Alberta’s Climate Leadership Plan.  It will create jobs by investing in a higher-value, lower-carbon, energy efficient economy.

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