VANCOUVER — The decision to move forward with the LNG Canada project will significantly increase B.C.’s overall climate emissions and undermine B.C.’s forthcoming climate plan, according to leading climate experts at the David Suzuki Foundation.
“It’s irresponsible to green-light a project that’s overall carbon pollution is staggering — much larger than what industry and government report — especially when there is no clear provincial climate strategy showing how B.C. will meet its legislated carbon pollution targets,” David Suzuki Foundation science and policy director Ian Bruce said.
Peer-reviewed research from the David Suzuki Foundation confirms that methane emissions from B.C.’s oil and gas industry — emitted during fracking and extraction of gas used for proposed liquefied natural gas export — continue to be vastly underreported by government and industry. The study published last year with St. Francis Xavier University found that methane emissions from B.C.’s oil and gas industry are at least 2.5 times higher than industry and government reports claim.
“Our research disproves the claim that LNG is a clean transition fuel,” Bruce said. “We should be investing in renewable energy rather than locking our economy into decades of fossil fuel infrastructure that is likely to be left stranded as the world transitions to a 21st-century low-carbon economy.”
The B.C. government’s approval of the project is further flawed, in that it allows industry to use fracked gas to power the LNG terminals instead of clean electricity. Furthermore, the upstream emissions from the natural gas industry have been exempt from B.C.’s carbon tax for over a decade, which the Foundation says needs to change.
“The B.C. government should immediately move forward with best-in-class methane regulations to reduce the harmful effects of natural gas production and act on its commitment to apply the carbon tax to these powerful and dangerous emissions,” Bruce said. “Cutting methane emissions is one of the easiest, most cost-effective climate solutions available. With today’s announcement, it’s more important than ever.”
Leading gas-producing regions around the world have successfully implemented robust methane regulations while also experiencing strong growth in gas production. Meanwhile, Alberta recently proposed weak methane regulations, which will achieve less than half the emissions reductions required by the federal government.
Slated to be the largest industrial project in the country, the LNG Canada project will have significant negative effects on the surrounding natural environment and Indigenous communities.
“The cumulative effects of this kind of massive industrial development in the expansive Treaty 8 territory put ecosystems in the region — and species like the endangered boreal caribou — at severe risk,” David Suzuki Foundation B.C. and Western Canada director-general Jay Ritchlin said. “Specifically, it significantly increases the chances that four of six remaining boreal caribou populations in northeastern B.C. will go extinct. A project this size could be the final straw.”
– 30 –
For more information, please contact:
Brendan Glauser, email@example.com, 604-356-8829
Methane emissions / LNG / fracking – background:
- Over a 20-year period, methane is 84 times more potent than carbon dioxide as a climate pollutant. Leading scientists estimate that methane is responsible for 25 per cent of already observed changes to Earth’s climate. This is why it’s identified as a top climate priority globally.
- Last year, the International Energy Agency reported that the oil and gas industry emits around 76 million tonnes of methane worldwide every year and that about 40 to 50 per cent of these emissions can be reduced at no net cost. The IEA has said taking global action to reduce these emissions would have the same climate benefit by 2100 as eliminating all coal plants in China.
- The main reason the IEA (and similar regional studies) find that 40 to 50 per cent of methane emissions reductions are free, or profitable, is because industry can sell the natural gas captured. Environmental Defense Fund estimates that the 76 million tonnes of methane emitted globally every year could add up to approximately US$34 billion in new profit, instead of ending up as “lost product”.
- In its 2017 confidence and supply agreement, the B.C. government promised to reduce methane pollution from the oil and gas industry by eliminating a long-standing loophole and applying the carbon tax to the oil and gas industry’s methane emissions.
- On April 26, 2018, the federal government passed regulations aimed at reducing methane emissions by 40 to 45 per cent by 2025. Provincial governments are now responsible for developing plans to achieve or exceed the necessary reductions. Alternatively, they must adopt the federal government’s pollution limits. Regulations released in April by Alberta’s provincial government fell far short of the federal requirements.