VANCOUVER | TRADITIONAL, UNCEDED TERRITORIES OF THE xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (MUSQUEAM), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (SQUAMISH) AND səlilwətaɬ (TSLEIL-WAUTUTH) FIRST NATIONS — With B.C. at a crossroads on how to manage climate-damaging liquefied natural gas projects, a new report commissioned by the David Suzuki Foundation finds that the science is unequivocal: producing LNG in Canada and shipping it abroad — even if it replaces coal — will increase the likelihood of missed emissions targets and exacerbate the climate crisis.
“In light of the overwhelming evidence, fracked methane gas should not be granted a special privilege in the energy transition. It remains a fossil fuel with unacceptable climate impacts, and its continued production will delay and impede the transition to emissions-free sources of clean energy,” Foundation senior climate policy adviser Tom Green said.
Burning Bridge: Debunking LNG as a Climate Solution, by Daniel Horen Greenford, examines claims that LNG is a bridge fuel and finds that, despite a full-court marketing and lobbying press from industry, LNG is neither a bridge fuel nor a climate solution.
In a world pursuing decarbonization aligned with the goals of the Paris Agreement, the report finds that Canadian LNG will likely become superfluous, and Canadian LNG terminals — which include some of the most capital-intensive ventures in history — are in danger of becoming major stranded assets.
“There is no way to guarantee that gas exported as LNG will displace coal, since it could equally add to existing energy supply to meet rising demand or displace renewables. Both outcomes mean a net increase in global emissions and a hit to climate action,” Green said.
LNG is a bad economic bet for B.C. The long-term price outlook for gas suggests a return to pre–Ukraine invasion prices, whereby firms operating in Canada will be uncompetitive and as late entrants, less likely to secure contracts. Short-term thinking to exploit as much B.C. gas as possible would have long-term consequences, since megaprojects like gas pipelines and LNG terminals cost billions and can take decades to recoup capital costs, if they ever do.
Drilling and fracking more gas wells, expanding the network of pipelines, building more LNG terminals and increasing the number of trans-Pacific LNG cargo voyages are dangerous distractions from the direct route to a carbon-free energy system. Canadian LNG is not part of a credible energy transition, regardless of any marginal improvements in emissions intensity gained through terminal electrification. A growing body of research, including this report, shows the need for an immediate transition away from gas that does not allow for expanded LNG export capacity.
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