BC LNG is not the dream of the 2090s

A comprehensive new report from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives challenges the manic LNG export strategy of the BC government.

Aside from offering nowhere near the economic benefits promised by boosters in industry and government, LNG is little better than coal:

From wellhead to final combustion, there are substantial leakages of methane, a much more potent greenhouse gas than CO2. Given this, liquefied fracked gas from BC actually has GHG emission rates similar to coal.

Contrary to the notion that BC LNG would be “doing the world a favor” by displacing coal use in Asia, BC LNG exports to China would increase GHG emissions over at least the next fifty years, compared to building state-of-the-art coal plants. Considered on a 100-year basis, burning imported LNG would provide only a marginal improvement compared to best technology coal.



BC’s budget is immoral and dangerous, neglecting our most urgent crisis

The 2013 budget for British Columbia shows the Liberal government does not comprehend the urgent environmental, economic and social crises that beset the province and planet.

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BC’s liquid natural gas plans are “immoral, illegal and bad economics”

Marc Lee and David Austin discussed British Columbia’s plans to extract, liquify and export natural gas at an SFU CarbonTalks event I attended today.

Marc is the co-director of the Climate Justice Project and Senior Economist at the BC Office of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. David is Associate Counsel with Clark Wilson LLP, working for clients in energy and electricity.

It was a worthwhile and interesting discussion and should be online soon.

Highlights from the talk

Marc was frank in his assessment of BC’s liquified natural gas plan: it is illegal, immoral and bad economics. As David pointed out, the two LNG plants would add 24 megatonnes of C02 to our atmosphere each year. This contribution makes it nearly impossible for BC to reach its legislated greenhouse gas reduction targets.

Both speakers noted that GHG pollution from natural gas extraction (and the use of natural gas to extract more natural gas) isn’t taxed like other sources of dangerous GHG. As Marc put it: if we go ahead with liquified natural gas, BC must regulate fracking and tax fugitive emissions.

Marc also said the industry needs to “pay its own way” and that no public subsidies should go to LNG plans, whether tax breaks, new infrastructure, or electricity rates that are much lower than the cost of new supply.

Alternatives to state-supported LNG

We must constantly remind BC and other Canadian governments that the safety and liveability of global society must be put ahead of the short-term interests of the international fossil fuel industry operating in our territory. Producing cleaner, safer, renewable electricity and improving the energy efficiency is a far better investment for our economy while supporting our responsibility to reduce the global climate threat.

An updated BC carbon tax schedule that returns revenue for investment in public transit, building retrofits, and adaptation to climate disruption will produce more jobs and secure our communities for what is shaping out to be an extremely challenging century.

See this report from the CCPA for more on the bad economics, illegality and immorality of BC’s natural gas plans.

CCPA has also published a report on BC’s natural gas fracking plans.

Seth Klein: The growth/degrowth debate is distracting

A very thoughtful piece on the idea of degrowth from Seth Klein, BC Director for the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.

His key point is that while we could still see GDP growth ahead, (due to the public and private investments that are needed to address our multiple predicaments), there must be “a dramatic shift within the component parts of the GDP equation”.

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