The special report from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) from October 2018 compared the impacts of 2°C warming compared to 1.5°C. The panel found significantly more severe climate impacts on health, sea level, droughts, floods and food production at 2°C compared to 1.5°C. The report also shows that on the current trajectory, the planet will warm by 1.5°C around 2040 and that halting the warming trend before it’s too late will require meeting net zero emissions mid-century.
The report concluded that avoiding catastrophic climate impacts requires “rapid and far-reaching” transitions to the world economy and made is clear that all countries of the world must stop building new fossil fuel projects which would make our dependence on them even greater. It also showed that B.C.’s – and many other jurisdictions – have carbon pollution targets that are too weak and that we need accountability to ensure targets are met. Ongoing failure to meet targets is not an option.
Rampant wildfires, turbocharged hurricanes, rising sea levels and lethal heatwaves at 1°C of global warming show that time is running out. People around the world are dying as a result of climate impacts. Here at home British Columbians are facing evacuations and the fear of fires. To willfully ignore the science and promote fossil fuel expansion is a new form of climate denial.
The international community committed in 2015 in Paris to the long term goal of keeping the increase in global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and to aim to limit the increase to 1.5°C. Current reduction pledges, however, will lead to at least 3°C of warming by 2100.
In September, California set a goal of achieving net zero emissions by 2045. We are calling on the B.C. government to follow this example and commit to climate action based on the latest science, including more aggressive carbon pollution targets and a robust climate test for new energy projects.
Credible estimates of emissions from the LNG Canada facility by the Pembina Institute and the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives range from 8.6 to 12 million tonnes. The project would consume the vast majority of B.C.’s remaining annual pollution budget by 2050 (13 million tonnes), even under the current weak reduction target. The province estimates the project will cause 3.45 million tonnes of emissions but is only considering the first half of the project and not including all of the upstream emissions caused by extraction and transporting the gas destined for LNG Canada.
This number does not include even higher emissions from burning exported LNG abroad. This would add another 68 million tonnes annually in other countries, exceeding all emissions from within B.C. today. B.C.’s fracking emissions from leaked methane are also much higher than currently reported. Recent research suggests that methane emissions from the industry as a whole are at least 2.5 times higher than what the province estimates and that almost half of BC’s active wells are emitting methane-rich plumes. NASA recently attributed the global increase of the powerful greenhouse gas methane to the oil and gas industry. In short, methane leakage makes gas as bad as coal for the climate.
B.C.’s current targets are a 40% reduction by 2030 and 80% by 2050, compared to 2007 levels. While many other countries have reduced their emissions, B.C.’s emissions have been increasing in four of the last five years and the province remains stuck where it started ten years ago.