LNG Canada cannot proceed
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
September 21, 2018
New LNG terminals and meaningful climate action cannot coexist, says Sierra Club BC in a letter to Premier John Horgan, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy George Heyman, and Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources Michelle Mungall.
A soon-to-be-released report from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) makes it clear that B.C.’s carbon pollution targets are too weak and robust implementation to ensure targets are met is essential. LNG Canada’s carbon footprint is so large it cannot fit in any credible climate action plan.
“The findings of the new IPCC report make it clear that B.C.’s weak targets, combined with LNG cheerleading, are a blueprint for climate hell, not climate stabilization,” said Jens Wieting, senior forest and climate campaigner with Sierra Club BC. “Neither LNG Canada nor other LNG facilities can be allowed to proceed.”
The IPCC report concludes that avoiding catastrophic climate impacts requires “rapid and far-reaching” transitions to the world economy and net zero carbon pollution by mid-century. B.C.’s recently announced climate pollution targets are inadequate and do not come close to what the IPCC says is needed.
“This spring, Premier Horgan stated any new LNG plants must adhere to B.C.’s carbon pollution targets, yet those targets fall well short of what the IPCC says is needed,” said Jens Wieting, senior forest and climate campaigner with Sierra Club BC. “The numbers do not add up and 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.”
Recent media reports suggest that a final investment decision for LNG Canada could be announced as early as the beginning of October. If built, it would massively increase BC’s emissions.
“The latest research makes clear that projects like LNG Canada are doomed to become a stranded asset, as governments globally move away from fossil fuels,” said Wieting. “The cost of renewable energy is dropping dramatically. It’s time for governments and investors to consider the climate facts and stop betting on climate breakdown.”
A special report from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is expected on October 8, and a draft leaked in June 2018 showed some of the key findings. Comparing the impacts of 2°C warming compared to 1.5°C, the IPCC 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 will require meeting net zero emissions.
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.
“This month, 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.
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. NASA recently attributed the global increase of the powerful greenhouse gas methane to the oil and gas industry.
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. This summer, the province invited comments on three intentions papers on transportation, buildings and industry to inform B.C.’s next steps on climate action. The papers describe steps in the right direction but include no details regarding the degree to which different sectors must reduce emissions, and by when.
Sierra Club BC has written Premier John Horgan, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy George Heyman, and Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources Michelle Mungall to press for action to address these issues.
Sierra Club BC’s letter: https://sierraclub.bc.ca/wp-content/uploads/SCBC_Letter_LNG_Climate.pdf
Graph: BC’s climate goals vs. LNG proposals: https://sierraclub.bc.ca/wp-content/uploads/BC-Climate-Goals-VS-LNG-Proposals_SCBC.jpg
For more information: https://thenarwhal.ca/b-c-s-climate-action-must-address-three-elephants-in-the-room/
Senior Forest and Climate Campaigner, Sierra Club BC