Canada's Environment Minister expected to pitch phase-out of coal at U-N climate change talks

Environment Minister Catherine McKenna is in Bonn, Germany for the U-N climate change talks where officials hope to set the rules for implementing the 2015 Paris climate accord.

McKenna and British counterpart Claire Perry hope to convince the world to abandon coal-fired power.

But at the same time, U-S President Donald Trump has sent George David Banks, his special assistant on energy and the environment, to Bonn to host an event promoting coal, natural gas and nuclear energy.

Banks admitted that promoting fossil fuels is ``provocative,'' but argued that while renewables have a bright future, much of the necessary innovation to store and transmit power from wind and solar sources is still in its infancy.

McKenna's tweets stood in sharp contrast to the U-S position, noting that burning coal is responsible for 41 per cent of our global emissions.

She said coal is ``the most powerful fossil fuel in the world'' and nations must work together to adopt cleaner forms of energy.

Speaking in Manila today where he is attending a summit of Southeast Asian nations, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pulled no punches by calling coal the ``dirtiest of all fossil fuels'' and the main challenge to meeting climate change targets.

He said that unless we reduce coal consumption, ``we are not going to be able to prevent catastrophic global warming.''

McKenna noted that some 23 countries, states and cities have either already phased out coal or have a plan to do so, including Canada.

Trudeau said in Manila that Canada has taken ``significant steps'' in phasing out coal and will continue to ensure those efforts are successful.

Canada, where coal accounts for about one-tenth of the electricity supply, has committed to phasing out coal power plants by 2030 as has the Netherlands.

The U-K, Italy and France all plan to get rid of it by 2025.