David Hughes: LNG exports will doom BC’s emission reduction targets

Opinion: Meeting the roadmap targets with the LNG Canada project would mean even more drastic cuts in the non-oil and gas sector, along with controversial, costly and energy-intensive carbon capture and storage technologies.

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When the provincial government announced its CleanBC Roadmap to 2030 on October 25, conspicuously absent was any mention of BC’s LNG export aspirations, which will increase emissions from the oil and gas sector and likely ruin any chance of compliance. with BC emission reduction targets.

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The LNG Canada project under construction in Kitimat includes a gas liquefaction terminal with two trains (LNG liquefaction and purification facilities) scheduled for completion in 2025 and two additional trains by 2030. Canada’s energy regulator is the most conservative forecast projects that BC’s gas production will need to increase 38% to meet first phase feed gas requirements and 76% when second phase is completed.

Increasing gas production in 2025 for the LNG Canada project will add substantial new emissions to the existing oil and gas sector, which were not addressed in the CleanBC Roadmap. The terminal itself will add almost four million tons per year and, together with the production of the inlet gas it requires, the sector’s emissions will increase by 92% when phase 1 is complete and by 130% when phase 2 goes online. .

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Instead of reducing oil and gas emissions from 2007 levels, LNG Canada will increase emissions from the sector by 24% in 2030, 54% in 2040 and 49% in 2050.

With LNG Canada, even if all other sectors of the British Columbia economy met the CleanBC roadmap targets, total emissions would still fall short of British Columbia’s climate targets (emissions would be reduced by just 29% in 2030, 41% in 2040 and 58%). percent in 2050, instead of the required 40, 60, and 80 percent, respectively). In 2050, the 16.5 million tonnes of emissions from the oil and gas sector would only exceed BC’s total allowable carbon budget of 13.2 million tonnes.

Meeting the roadmap targets with the LNG Canada project would mean even more drastic cuts in the non-oil and gas sector, along with controversial, costly and energy-intensive carbon capture and storage technologies.

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The John Horgan government justifies LNG exports by stating that global emissions will be reduced by displacing coal burning in places like China. In fact, due to the much greater climate impact of methane in the first few years after release compared to carbon dioxide, LNG plants in China would have higher emissions than coal during their first decades of life.

CleanBC’s roadmap commits to reducing methane emissions from gas production by 75% by 2030 without indicating how this could be done. If it was easy, companies would have done it a long time ago, as the loss of methane means a loss of revenue. The government’s emissions reduction ambitions have a history of failure: BC’s 2008 climate action plan, for example, stated that emissions would be reduced 33% from 2007 levels by 2020, instead increasing 4%, and BC emissions increased 6% since the Paris Agreement was signed in 2016.

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The government’s claims of a revenue bonanza from LNG exports are also at odds with the hundreds of millions it provided as incentives for LNG and industry, as well as declining government revenue from royalties and taxes in the last two. decades despite increased production.

Canada is a mature exploration region and gas production is falling in every province except British Columbia, where the advent of fracking has provided a temporary respite. British Columbia has most of what is left of Canada’s low-cost gas, and what is left would be better used to meet our domestic energy needs, beyond what renewables can provide, for decades to come. Gas can provide valuable backup for intermittent renewables such as wind and solar, as well as a high-grade heat source; exporting it as quickly as possible for questionable climate benefits is pointless.

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Not surprisingly, LNG is not even mentioned in BC’s CleanBC roadmap until 2030 given its impact on the province’s emission reduction targets. Canadians deserve viable strategies that provide long-term energy and climate security, not ill-conceived resource extraction projects for illusory profits represented by LNG exports.

David Hughes is an earth scientist who has worked in the energy industry for more than 40 years, including 32 years with the Geological Survey of Canada. He directs Global Sustainability Research and is a Research Associate at the Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives, BC Office.

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Reference-theprovince.com

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