LETTER – Do the math on how much C02 all those coal trains represent

(Image: Nick Nice,

Every time I see an article on the TV about how the CO2 level is rising and we all have to do our part in lowering it, it makes my blood boil. Living in Kamloops where the CP and CN both have mainline trackage, all anybody has to do is look at the number and size of the coal trains running through our city.

Let’s do the math. Each train consists of between 140 and 155 cars with the capacity of 140 tons of coal in each car. Each company USED to have three trains per day since I was an electrical apprentice on the CN back in 1970. Now with the CN running an additional 10 trains per day across Lorne street to the CP system, that is now up to 16 coal trains per day shipping dirty coal to other countries to burn.

Don’t tell me that reducing coal down to coke for steel making produces less CO2 than thermal plants. Coal still releases 2.4 tons of CO2 for every ton burnt or converted. Just do the math and be astounded as I was. It’s in the range of billions of tons of coal. Even more for CO2 released.

As an aside, at last count, Canada still has between 13 and 15 coal powered thermal power stations running in the country, mostly back east. How much do they pay in carbon taxes?

The next time you look at your Fortis natural gas, check that little mark next to the imposed carbon tax. That mark indicates that the carbon tax is subject to the GST! So we are paying GST on the carbon tax. A tax on a tax. The carbon tax is neither a good nor a service. So why the GST? Just another federal money grab.


About Mel Rothenburger (9233 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

2 Comments on LETTER – Do the math on how much C02 all those coal trains represent

  1. Marcus Lowe // August 10, 2021 at 8:12 AM // Reply

    Combustion of Methane: CH4 + 2O2 → CO2 + 2H2O. Note the production of CO2. Why? Why do people see with their feelings instead of facts? Next time the math is done, please look at the global methane released by the Natural Gas Industry. Include the gas that (accidentally) escapes before it gets into the pipelines. Unfortunately it will reveal one problem has been replaced by an even greater problem. I guess it is easier to be crazy.

  2. First of all it is CP switching coal trains over to CN, just to be clear. Secondly the world economy cannot stop on a dime and it shouldn’t because…because we need to live somewhat comfortably and with a ding of dignity. We certainly do not need the jacked-up and chipped diesel pick-up to do so, BTW. Thirdly it is, or should be, for people to minimize the personal carbon footprint regardless of how many coal trains one counts on any given day. Fourthly, a small amount of “tax on tax” is an infinitesimal small burden that can easily be offset by a large number of small acts an individual can take in lieu of. And moreover, most Canadians from coast to coast to coast need to start writing letters to the editors thanking their gigantic good luck in having to live in such a generous country, especially in comparison to anywhere else in the world. It makes my blood boil when I read the most feeble of argument that we need not to bother unless China or whatever other nation cuts their carbon footprint to zero.

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