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.