VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – A new report from a fossil fuel industry watchdog suggests the economics behind B.C.’s plans to expand LNG are bad, and that the climate change impacts from the project will be significant.
The narrative from the industry and the provincial government is that exporting LNG to Asia will help that continent get off coal and on to cleaner natural gas.
However, James Browning with the Global Energy Monitor says it’s less environmentally-friendly than advertised.
“Our report shows that at a critical time for the climate, there’s a proposed tripling of liquid natural gas production around the world in the form of new export terminals, new import terminals, and that would really push us over the cliff when it comes to the climate,” he explains.
“New research has shown that gas, in many ways, is actually worse for the climate than coal and that the methane that’s produced, and the leaks in the production and the transport of natural gas is very damaging to the climate.”
Read the full report:NewGasBoomEmbargo
To hear Browning tell it, building LNG on a mass scale, like the industry is planning to do in B.C., is a bridge to disaster.
The economics, he adds, just don’t add up.
“Already, renewable energy is competitive with natural gas, and there’s a real risk for these projects — it’s $410-billion being proposed in Canada — becoming stranded assets,” he tells NEWS 1130. “Right now, renewable energy is competitive everywhere with natural gas and certainly with coal. The prices are only going to fall as solar, as wind, other forms become more efficient.”
Just last week, the federal government put up $275-million toward the $40-billion LNG Canada project in Kitimat.
The report, which was released on Canada Day, suggests projects around the world would increase natural gas supply to more than 800-million tonnes above what they are now.
Of that development, over one-third is in Canada.
The report also says the increase in natural gas is driven largely by the North American fracking boom, which changed the industry more than a decade ago. It adds the investments are “on a collision course” with the goals of the Paris climate accord.
B.C. LNG Alliance stands by environmental benefits
Meantime, the B.C. LNG sector appears unmoved by the new report. In fact, B.C. LNG Alliance President Bryan Cox insists there are environmental benefits.
“Providing natural gas, which burns much cleaner than coal or burning word or dung for heating — which many places in the world are currently doing — actually really helps with air quality, and I think that’s a real opportunity for LNG, and especially B.C.’s LNG, which will be the cleanest LNG in the world.”
Cox adds B.C. is leading the way when it comes to environmental standards.
He sees the report as a continued opportunity for the LNG industry to engage with British Columbians about what the opportunity is for LNG both in the province and Canada.
“Our facilities that we’re looking to build — the LNG Canada facility, plus our other proposed facilities, will be the lowest emitting facilities in the world — and that’s an excellent story for B.C. to talk about.”
-With files from The Canadian Press