The End of Coal: Ontario’s coal phase-out

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July 2015
Melissa Harris, Marisa Beck, Ivetta Gerasimchuk

Ontario has successfully implemented its policy to put an end to coal use by the end of 2014. The coal phaseout in Ontario has become “the single largest GHG reduction measure in North America”. Since 2007, when coal accounted for about 25 per cent of its electricity generation, the province has reduced its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by approximately 34 megatonnes (Mt) or 17 per cent. What lessons can be learned from Ontario’s coal phase-out experience? How can its success be replicated in other parts of the globe?

This paper explores these questions for all those around the world who may draw inspiration and lessons learned from Ontario: policy-makers, campaigners, entrepreneurs and others interested in transitioning to a low-carbon future. This analysis has been informed by a comprehensive review of existing literature and semi-structured interviews with 10 high-level experts from Canadian political and academic circles, industry and civil society. Due to the small sample and the snowballing method of interviewee selection, the experts’ perspectives on what happened remain anecdotal.