Ontario Liberals promise to close coal plants by 2014

TORONTO, ONTARIO - The Ontario government set its climate targets promising to close the province's coal plants and reduce emissions to below 1990 levels.

Premier Dalton McGuinty announced emissions targets that fail to meet the Kyoto protocol and European levels but are well above federal targets.

Targets for Ontario's climate plan include:

- A reduction of greenhouse gases to six per cent below 1990 levels by 2014;

- A reduction of greenhouse gases to 15 per cent below 1990 levels by 2020;

- A reduction of greenhouse gases to 80 per cent below 1990 levels by 2050.

McGuinty said to reach the proposed targets, Ontario's coal plants will shut down by 2014.

The premier estimated the closure of the plants will help to achieve 50 per cent of Ontario's proposed levels.

The remaining 50 per cent will come from transit initiatives, improved energy efficiency and technology that helps fight climate change.

"We're doing our part to fight climate change in an ambitious and realistic way by shutting down coal plants, promoting energy conservation and investing in infrastructure that helps Ontarians reduce their greenhouse-gas emissions," McGuinty during his speech.

The announcement at the Shared Air Summit in Toronto was briefly interrupted by a protester demanding the province shut down the plants immediately.

The heckler was escorted out of the building.

McGuinty promised during the last election to close coal plants in the province by 2007.

Coal plants currently provide Ontario with 20 per cent of its electricity.

The premier boasted the province is building hundreds of wind turbines to the replace the plants and a massive new clean energy tunnel project in Niagara Falls.

"By 2030 there will be about 1,000 more new coal-fired generating stations built on this planet. There is only one place in the world that is phasing out coal-fired generation and we're doing that right here in Ontario.

The Lakeview coal plant in Mississauga has already been demolished.


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