Well, the dog haze of summer is upon us here in Toronto, Ontario. We’re in to several days of smog, with several more to come, and 30+ celsius weather. Bleah.

This all makes the recent news that Ontario might not be able to shut down its coal plants as promised disheartening, to say the least.

In the last election, one of the promises of the victorious Liberals was to shut down all coal-fired generating stations in our fair province. However, despite the blackout of 2003, Ontarians are just so crazy for tasty, tasty electrons that today we recorded a record level of electricity consumption for May. This has meant that the coal shutdown, already pushed back once before, may very well be pushed back once again.

The plot thickens even more with the possibility of the government either upgrading existing nuclear plants, or building entirely new ones. The government hasn’t said which way it will go, yet. But we’ve got the makings for a really interesting summer here. Will coal plants stay open? Will the government decide to build more nuclear? Where, pray tell, will renewables fall in all this?

I don’t have the answers to any of those questions, but I find it interesting that the Liberals have been clear that they are still committed to taking coal out — I don’t know of another jurisdiction … anywhere that has made that kind of promise. The opposition Tories are advocating for “clean coal”, but thankfully they have less influence than Washington Democrats.

This, of course, brings us to the eternal question: suppose the Liberals do start refurbishing old plants, or building new nuclear plants. Should we vote to re-elect if it comes with a coal shutdown? My usual feeling on these matters is that this alone isn’t enough to get my vote. But what do y’all think?