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Canada, UK to urge end to coal-fired power emissions at next climate summit

Canada and the United Kingdom have agreed to spearhead a push for the elimination of emissions from coal-fired electricity generation at an upcoming climate-change summit.

Canada's minister of environment and climate change, Catherine McKenna, met with her U.K. counterpart, Claire Perry, Oct. 11 to discuss ways to mitigate coal-plant emissions. The two discussed cooperation in advancing carbon capture, utilization and storage, according to a Canadian government statement. The meeting comes ahead of the 23rd session of the Conference of Parties, or COP23, summit planned for November in Bonn, Germany.

Canada's government has legislated the end to coal-plant emissions by 2030, while the U.K. plans to phase out traditional coal-fired generation by 2025. Canada has already granted exemptions to its plan to isolated provinces without access to natural gas sources that would back up renewables. While other countries participating in COP23 have agreed to cut emissions, host country Germany and China are both expanding their coal-fired generating fleets.

"Canada and the United Kingdom will champion a global alliance on the transition from unabated coal-fired electricity at next month's United Nations climate change meetings in Bonn, Germany," the ministers said in a joint statement. "Phasing unabated coal power out of the energy mix and replacing it with cleaner technologies will significantly reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, improve the health of our communities, and benefit generations to come. We are doing our part, but we recognize the need to accelerate the international transition from burning coal to using cleaner power sources."

Canada already has two industrial-scale carbon capture and sequestration, or CCS, projects in operation, Royal Dutch Shell plc's Quest CCS project and SaskPower's Boundary Dam project. Those facilities were both built with provincial government aid prior to the election of McKenna's government.