The author of a recent letter to the editor is trying to deceive the readers (“In praise of Pruitt,” Aug 3-9, 2017 Moab Sun News). The letter implies that the electricity rate in Ontario rose by over 300 percent because coal generation was banned, but this isn’t true or accurate. Global News, in Toronto, investigated the rates and found that, over the last 10 years, rates have gone up 70 percent for peak, 85 percent for mid-peak and 150 percent for off-peak rates. The average household electric bill went from $40.03 to $83.18 between 2006 and 2016 (not including taxes and fees), an average of about 108 percent.
Importantly, this rate increase was not due to canceling coal generation. The increase is attributed to infrastructure upgrades, privatization of the hydroelectric dam, and long-term contracts to the private sector. Interestingly, part of the increase is attributed to the politically motivated cancellation of two gas-fired power plants, which would’ve lowered the rates. And, that’s coal’s real problem – there are cleaner, cheaper alternatives.
The only way coal can be affordable as a power source is if someone else pays for the pollution. Mercury pollution, coal sludge, sulfur dioxide leading to acid rain which destroys wildlife and lakes and streams, particulate pollution that causes lung disease and other health issues, CO2 leading to climate change. These are all problems associated with burning coal. And, they want someone else to pay for the damage.
The International Climate Science Coalition is a fossil fuel advocacy group and is heavily associated with climate-change denier organizations.
I am a professor of physics and have conducted research in planetary geophysics, including climate science, for over 25 years.