In 1997, Ontario’s five dirty coal-fired power plants produced a noxious stew of air pollutants and massive amounts of greenhouse gas. But few people knew that this huge contributor to air quality problems and the climate crisis even existed.
The Ontario Clean Air Alliance (OCAA) changed that forever by relentlessly focusing public attention on how coal burning threatened our health and environment. It wasn’t easy, but by building an effective coalition with health organizations, community groups, and municipalities, OCAA convinced all of the province’s political leaders to support phasing out coal.
The result was a huge win for Ontario and the planet. In terms of climate pollution, ending coal burning was equal to taking 7 million cars off our roads.
While phasing out coal was a huge step forward, our climate crisis is still accelerating. And worryingly, the Ford government’s current plans for the electricity sector could see us throw away more than a third of the climate gains we achieved by eliminating coal. A planned >300% increase in the use of gas to generate electricity will make it impossible for this province to reach its modest climate targets.
“Why would we return to fossil fuel when we have low cost, cleaner options to keep our lights on?” asks Angela Bischoff, OCAA’s Campaigns Director.
The group has launched a new campaign to persuade the provincial government to phase-out—not ramp up—Ontario’s gas-fired power plants by 2030. So far, more than 35 organizations have signed onto the campaign’s goals.
Ontario can protect our climate and lower electricity bills by phasing out gas-fired power plants and embracing low cost, cleaner ways to keep our lights on.
The OCAA is calling on the province to:
- Reverse its short-sighted cuts to energy efficiency programs
- Invest in sun and wind now that they are among the cheapest new electricity generation options available
- Accept Quebec’s offer of low-cost 24/7 electricity from its massive waterpower system. Quebec’s reservoirs can also be used as a giant battery to backstop made-in-Ontario renewable power
Ontario can show bold leadership on climate again by phasing out gas generation and turning to conservation and renewable sources instead.
Learn more: www.OntarioClimateAction.ca
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The Ontario Clean Air Alliance (OCAA), established in 1997, successfully led the campaign to phase out the use of dirty coal power in Ontario. They are now working to move our province to a 100% renewable electricity system.