Ontario is one step closer to being the first place in North America to eliminate coal as a source of electricity generation.
Today, Premier Kathleen Wynne welcomed Al Gore, former Vice-President of the United States and Chairman of the Climate Reality Project, to the MaRs Discovery Centre in Toronto. They highlighted the closure of Ontario's coal-burning Lambton and Atikokan facilities ahead of schedule, and the upcoming closure of the Nanticoke Generating Station - the largest coal plant in North America.
Over the next year, Thunder Bay Generating Station will stop burning coal and will be converted to use advanced biomass, a fuel for electricity generation. This is the last major step in Ontario's plan to eliminate coal-fired electricity.
Next week, as part of Ontario's commitment to combat climate change, the province will also introduce the Ending Coal for Cleaner Air Act to ensure the public health and climate change benefits of eliminating coal use for electricity generation in Ontario would be protected by legislation.
The Ending Coal for Cleaner Air Act would ensure that once coal facilities stop operating by the end of 2014, coal burning generation on the electricity grid will never happen again.
Protecting the environment while providing clean, reliable and affordable power is part of the government's plan to invest in people, build modern infrastructure and support a dynamic and innovative business climate across Ontario.
Our work on eliminating coal and investing in renewables is the strongest action being taken in North America to fight climate change. I believe we can work together as stewards of our natural environment and protect our children, our grandchildren and our fellow citizens.
To solve the climate crisis, we need people, provinces and countries to show the way forward towards a coal-free, sustainable future. Ontario has distinguished itself as a leader in Canada and around the world. It is heartening to see the tremendous progress that has been made here and it is my hope that others will quickly follow suit.
Ontario has shown the world that bold action on climate change can be done. Ontarians should feel proud to live in the first jurisdiction in North America that is kicking the coal habit, a place that today took immediate meaningful action on climate change.
We are fulfilling our commitment to phase out coal-fired electricity in Ontario. Moving from regulation to legislation signals how important ending coal use is to protect clean air and public health.
Ontario is committed to building a clean, modern, reliable electricity system to replace dirty coal-fired generation. Replacing coal with cleaner generation, renewables and conservation will help ease strain on the health care system and help everyone breathe a little easier.