Rachel Notley

Special: How should Alberta scrap coal?

Four MLAs seated at a desk in front of a whiteboard.

Representatives of Alberta’s four major political parties participated in the debate. From left: NDP MLA Rachel Notley, WIldrose MLA Joe Anglin, Associate Minister of Electricity and Renewable Energy and PC MLA Donna Kennedy-Glans, and Liberal MLA David Swann.

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Something special for Terra Informa listeners today – this is not a full episode, but an extra from a story we’re working on for a future show. On January 17, a remarkable gathering occurred. Representatives from Alberta’s four major political parties met at the University of Alberta to discuss the health effects of coal-fired power generation in the province, and how to wean the province off of coal. We’ve captured a full recording of the event for you to listen to above.

Alberta relies on coal for the majority of its electricity needs — an outlier compared to provinces like Ontario, British Columbia, and Quebec, which depend more heavily on hydroelectric, natural gas, and nuclear power for electricity generation. As a result, greenhouse gas emissions from Alberta’s electricity sector are high compared to other provinces and territories, and so are health effects like asthma episodes, breathing difficulties, and hospitalizations from air pollution.

The debate was hosted by the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment (CAPE), and moderated by epidemiologist and professor Dr. Colin Soskolne. Thanks to CAPE and Joe Vipond for allowing us to record and broadcast the event.