Allowing LNG Canada construction in absence of credible climate plan irresponsible of B.C. government
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
October 2, 2018
Victoria—LNG Canada’s final investment decision to proceed in the absence of a credible science-based provincial climate plan demonstrates the provincial government is disregarding the latest climate science, says Sierra Club BC.
“It is irresponsible for the provincial and federal governments to continue to allow new fossil fuel projects to go ahead without strong, detailed climate plans and accountability mechanisms,” said senior forest and climate campaigner Jens Wieting. “We need a climate test for all major energy projects, a test that stops projects whose carbon footprint makes meeting targets impossible.
“We haven’t yet seen any evidence that the LNG Canada project can fit within a credible climate plan. The latest climate science demonstrates that far more ambitious targets are essential, both in B.C. and globally. Even the Paris carbon pollution reduction pledges are so weak they will result in 3°C of warming by 2100, according to the United Nations.”
The carbon footprint of LNG Canada’s Kitimat project cannot fit in any climate action plan that is in line with the central goal of the Paris Agreement—to limit warming to between 1.5 and 2°C. Scientists are expecting increasingly unmanageable climate impacts even in the 1.5 to 2°C range. Beyond 2°C, impacts will be catastrophic.
Credible estimates of emissions from LNG Canada by the Pembina Institute and the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives range from 8.6 to 12 million tonnes, more than the entire emissions of the country of Costa Rica.
“It is absurd that the climate plan being developed by the B.C. government is forced to accommodate LNG Canada,” said Wieting. “The responsible way to proceed would be to set targets the science tells us we need, then have LNG Canada prove it can fit within those targets.”
LNG Canada would consume the vast majority of B.C.’s remaining annual carbon pollution budget by 2050 (13 million tonnes), even under today’s weak reduction target. Abroad, the project would add another 68 million tonnes annually from burning gas exported from B.C., exceeding all emissions from within B.C. today (equivalent to the emissions of Greece).
The B.C. government is expected to release its revised climate action plan later this fall.
Premier Horgan has already acknowledged that if climate targets are to be met, every other sector of B.C.’s economy would have to significantly accelerate the reduction of their carbon emissions just to accommodate LNG Canada within B.C.’s current weak targets.
Earlier this month, Sierra Club BC’s executive director Hannah Askew wrote to Premier John Horgan, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy George Heyman, and Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources Michelle Mungall. She called on the B.C. government to strengthen provincial targets and ensure a robust plan for implementation so targets are actually met.
“We are looking at a collapse of the global economic system and of human civilization as a whole if warming pushes past 1.5 to 2°C,” said Wieting. “Recent wildfires, hurricanes, flooding and heatwaves will be seen as the good old days in comparison.”
New fossil fuel projects will be at increasing risk of becoming stranded assets as costs for renewable energy plummet and governments take stronger action to reduce emissions to avert devastating climate change impacts.
For more information:
Sierra Club BC letter regarding LNG Canada and climate action https://sierraclub.bc.ca/wp-content/uploads/SCBC_Letter_LNG_Climate.pdf
Graph: BC climate goals vs. LNG Canada https://sierraclub.bc.ca/wp-content/uploads/BC-climate-goals-vs-LNG-Canada.jpg
Senior Forest and Climate Campaigner
Sierra Club BC