Christy-Clark-LNG-3.jpg

LNG Industry Could Make B.C. Canada’s Worst Actor on Climate

While the B.C. government may like to claim it’s a “climate leader,” the province has quietly become a climate laggard compared to Canada’s other most populous provinces according to a new analysis released by the Pembina Institute on Tuesday.

The analysis indicates that eight years after B.C.’s Climate Action Plan was implemented, B.C.’s emissions are projected to continue increasing — standing in stark contrast to Ontario, Quebec and even Alberta.

Between 2011 and 2014, B.C.’s emissions increased by the equivalent of adding 380,000 cars to the road — putting B.C. on track to blow past its legislated 2020 emissions target.

If the province’s inaction on climate change continues, B.C.’s emissions will increase 39 per cent above 2014 levels by 2030, according to modelling.

Meantime, carbon pollution in Alberta, Ontario and Quebec is expected to decrease by 26 per cent, 22 per cent and 23 per cent, respectively, over the same period.

How is it possible that B.C. will perform worse than oilsands heavyweight Alberta? The predicted increase in B.C.’s emissions is largely due to projections for B.C.’s nascent liquefied natural gas (LNG) sector — which would account for more than 80 per cent of B.C.’s emissions increase between 2014 and 2030. And that calculation is based on the equivalent of just one LNG terminal getting up and running (roughly the size of the LNG Canada project in Kitimat, which would create 24 megatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent per year).

Yup, despite whatever insane statements Premier Christy Clark might make about how the LNG industry is going to fight climate change the opposite is true due to its carbon intensity.

Pembina is applying pressure on the B.C. government as it makes the final decisions on a new Climate Leadership Plan, expected to be released later this month. Last fall, Clark’s Climate Leadership Team (which included Matt Horne of the Pembina Institute) delivered 32 recommendations to the government to get B.C. on track to meet its 2050 climate target.

“In 2008, B.C. built a solid foundation with the Climate Action Plan. But when it came time to construct the proverbial house, Premier Clark balked at taking the next steps,” Horne said in a news release. “It’s time to quit stalling and finish the job.”

The Climate Leadership Team’s recommendations included reducing emissions from buildings by 50 per cent by 2030, establishing a new zero-emission vehicle standard, cutting methane emissions from the natural gas sector by 40 per cent in the next five years and increasing the carbon tax by $10 per tonne per year.

Image: Christy Clark attends an LNG rally in Fort St. John/Flickr

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Thanks for being an avid reader of our in-depth journalism, which is read by millions and made possible thanks to more than 4,200 readers just like you.

The Narwhal's growing team is hitting the ground running in 2022 to tell stories about the natural world that go beyond doom-and-gloom headlines — and we need your support.

Our model of independent, non-profit journalism means we can pour resources into doing the kind of environmental reporting you won’t find anywhere else in Canada, from investigations that hold elected officials accountable to deep dives showcasing the real people enacting real climate solutions.

There’s no advertising or paywall on our website (we believe our stories should be free for all to read), which means we count on our readers to give whatever they can afford each month to keep The Narwhal’s lights on.

The amazing thing? Our faith is being rewarded. We hired seven new staff over the past year and won a boatload of awards for our features, our photography and our investigative reporting.

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