Vancouver Becoming North America’s Largest Coal-Exporting Port

Canada is expanding its coal exports to Asia through British Columbia

March 27, 2017

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B.C. is expanding its coal exports to Asia via facilities such as this Deltaport terminal. Vancouver’s expansion projects will make it North America’s largest coal exporting port

366,000 people who died prematurely in China in 2013 due to coal pollution, according to Tsinghua University in Beijing. Globally, coal mining accidents kill an estimated 12,000 people a year. The industry employs roughly one percent of all global labor but accounts for eight percent of fatal accidents, according to the International Labour Organisation.

The lives lost to coal are matched by the rock’s carbon footprint. Burning it for electricity emits almost twice the greenhouse gas per unit of energy as burning natural gas does and about one-third more than oil. At almost 50 percent, coal is by far the largest source of human-produced greenhouse gases globally. Today, B.C. ports are shipping increasing amounts of coal to Asia, including American coal, for steel production and power generation. Last year, U.S. coal producer Lighthouse Resources started sending coal across the Pacific via Vancouver as environmentalists blocked a new export terminal in Oregon.

A further boost to the Western Canadian coal trade will come with the planned expansion of the Fraser Surrey Docks terminal.

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