Debunking 8 Claims by NGOs Who Want to Shut Down B.C. LNG Projects

Canadian LNG will reduce global emissions billboard

Several non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are asking the B.C. government to shut down all liquefied natural gas (LNG) facilities in the province, of which will bring significant benefits to Canadian and Indigenous families, and the global environment [1].

In an open letter to Premier David Eby, the groups - most of which are not from Canada - argue that natural gas has no place in the world’s future energy mix despite the International Energy Agency (IEA) stating that gas is a critical transition fuel source and is in growing demand worldwide.

Below, we take a closer look at the several claims made by these anti-resource development, anti-prosperity NGOs looking to put a stop to the economic, security, and environmental benefits B.C.’s LNG sector will bring to families here at home and abroad.

#1 - NGOs Reject the Science Behind Coal-to-Gas Switching

The world is asking for Canada's responsible energy. Will we help?

NGOs: Plans for five new liquefied natural gas (LNG) facilities “do not align” with global efforts to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius or to transition away from fossil fuels as agreed upon in the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Canada Action: They don’t “align” because activists reject the science of fuel replacement – that is of swapping less brown soft coal for cleaner LNG.

But a ban on Canadian LNG projects would be impractical and would do nothing but harm Canada and the planet.

Canada’s impact on global emissions is so small that a Canadian ban would be counterproductive and would only move production to a less-regulated country. We’d lose, the planet would lose, and only the less-regulated regime would win. No thanks.

Cleaner-burning Canadian natural gas can replace far dirtier fuels like soft brown coal, which is burned more regularly as Russian gas is no longer available to many European countries. So, Canadian-made LNG can assist in reducing global emissions in other jurisdictions by displacing coal power.

But if we drive Canadian oil and gas companies out of business through misplaced production and export bans, then reducing emissions through fuel replacement is off the table.

Who would benefit from this approach? Only Qatar and other supplier countries that would export their product to the market instead of our heavily regulated, responsibly delivered LNG.

#2 - The U.S. Pause on LNG is Not What it Seems

countries are asking for canada's responsible energy, shouldn't we help?

NGOs: B.C. should take Joe Biden’s example and pause all LNG export approvals

Canada Action: The comparison to Joe Biden is disingenuous at best and utterly misleading at worst. According to Woods Mackenzie, an analytics firm:

US President Joe Biden announced on January 26th a temporary pause on approving new US LNG export projects. But existing and under construction US LNG projects are not affected. And according to an EIA comparison of Canada and the US:

Canada

“Two LNG export projects with a combined capacity of 2.1 billion ft3/d are under construction in British Columbia on Canada’s west coast. Developers have scheduled LNG Canada, with an export capacity of 1.8 billion ft3/d, to begin service in 2025, and Woodfibre LNG, with an export capacity of 0.3 billion ft3/d, to begin service in 2027. Both export terminals will be supplied with natural gas from western Canada.”

USA

“Five LNG export projects are currently under construction with a combined 9.7 billion ft3/d of LNG export capacity – Golden Pass, Plaquemines, Corpus Christi Stage III, Rio Grande, and Port Arthur. Developers expect LNG exports from Golden Pass LNG and Plaquemines LNG to start in 2024.

Therefore, the US is doing very well, given the Biden pause does not cover existing LNG projects or projects under construction.

#3 - NGOs Are Also Against Hydropower

NGOs: The so-called 88 signatories claim some of these projects propose to mitigate emissions using electricity from BC Hydro to power their liquefaction process. But the group claims BC Hydro would “put the cost of greenwashing the LNG industry on everyone in the province with a hydro bill and also divert much-needed clean electricity from other CleanBC initiatives like heat pumps and electric vehicles.

Canada Action: This is especially strange given that many of these same 88 activist groups were also opposed to Site C just five or six years ago. Greenpeace, Sierra Club, LeadNow, The Wilderness Committee and others. These are just a few of the groups that opposed Site C until they saw its value and changed their minds.

#4 - Natural Gas is Cleaner than Coal

BC LNG development is Indigenous economic reconciliation

NGOs: Natural gas is not a solution to climate change… And they further say: “Meanwhile, B.C. gas is more likely to compete with renewable and nuclear energy than replace coal in its target markets. The International Energy Agency already expects coal-fired electricity to decline in Japan and South Korea, the two most likely customers for B.C. LNG. There is already enough LNG supply under construction around the world to satisfy demand until 2030.”

Canada Action: The 88 NGOs who signed this letter conveniently overlook the gorilla in the room, China, which Canada could assist in reducing its emissions if activists were really concerned about that.

Also, these NGOs need to be more science-based in their analysis.

The world needs our LNG to help reduce global greenhouse gas emissions from more carbon-intensive fuels like coal. But don't take our word for it.

Kasumu et al. (Country-Level Life Cycle Assessment of Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Liquefied Natural Gas Trade for Electricity Generation, Sci. Technol., American Chemical Society) demonstrated that, when replacing coal in Chinese energy facilities, BC LNG produces lower total, life-cycle emissions.

• Even greater benefits are realized when we electrify the LNG process as we have done in Canada, given our electricity source is largely clean hydro.

• Remember GHG emissions don’t honour national boundaries, so it’s vital that we address global emissions – even if it means our local emissions may rise slightly as a result. We should always follow the numbers.

• And finally, some point out that our B.C. LNG will replace not only coal in China, but also Chinese gas. How does replacing Chinese gas with B.C. LNG help the climate? Simple: For energy production, China relies not only on coal but also on Chinese synthetic natural gas (SNG), which is produced from converting coal to gas. The conversion process creates enormous carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and is, therefore, much more emissions-intensive than B.C. LNG.

#5 - B.C. LNG Will Reduce Global Emissions

B.C. LNG will reduce global emissions

NGOs: Adding to this global glut of LNG will only depress prices and slow the transition to clean power. Over the long term, new LNG infrastructure in B.C. and abroad would also lock in decades of continued pollution and undermine progress in the global effort to reach net-zero emissions.

Canada Action: On the contrary, we have already shown, through a highly respected study, above, that B.C. LNG could greatly reduce emissions globally while it’s extracted in Canada responsibly.

#6 - All Energy Infrastructure Has a Life-Cycle

NGOs: These LNG facilities can have a lifespan of 40 years. Once they’re built, they must either become stranded assets or they will prevent governments from meeting climate goals. Global gas demand is forecast to decline starting in 2030 but the speed of that decline will help determine whether or not the world achieves its goal of limiting global heating to safe levels.

Canada Action: All energy infrastructure has a life cycle – wind turbines, hydro dams, solar farms, nuclear plants, gas peaking plants. The difference is that LNG facilities provide cleaner, scalable, high-density fossil energy to a society that requires that energy consistently, on a non-stop basis for heating, cooling, shelter, transportation, farming, healthcare, communications and the knowledge sector.

#7 - Non-Canadian NGOs Want to Tell Us What to Do

global natural gas demand is growing and canadian LNG is the best choice

NGOs: The B.C. government should take our demands seriously, because there are so many signatories from all around the world.

Canada Action: The reach of the signatories is impressive until you look closely. The group primarily consists of activists from various global hotspots, but there appear to be few locals.

Suggested local signatories include:

• the Avalon Newfoundland Council of Canadians
• the Campbell River Council of Canadians
• the Nanaimo Council of Canadians
• the Terrace Council of Canadians
• the West Kootenay Council of Canadians and
• of course, the actual Council of Canadians.

It’s magical math – one large signatory becomes six local ones.

Then there are the 350.org groups:

• 350 Eugene (Oregon)
• 350 PDX (Oregon)
• 350 Seattle (Washington) and
• of course, 350.org

Presto – one signatory becomes four!

#8 - B.C. LNG Projects Have Support of First Nations

B.C. LNG underpins a strong economy for Canadians

NGOs: So many of the LNG projects being advanced in Canada are running afoul of Indigenous rights.

Canada Action: The only Indigenous People who have a right to decide who represents them and speaks for them are the band members themselves, according to Ellis Ross, B.C. Liberal MLA for Skeena and former chief councillor for the Haisla First Nation from 2013 to 2017.

Ellis Ross goes on to say:

“The fact is all 20 First Nations whose territory runs along the pathway of the Coastal GasLink pipeline — including the Wet’suwet’en — have each signed agreements with the company. Professional protesters and well-funded NGOs have merely seized the opportunity to divide our communities for their own gains, and ultimately will leave us penniless when they suddenly leave.”

In a separate interview, Ellis Ross adds:

“I’m a First Nation born and raised on reserve, and like many across Canada, we were left out of the wealth generation in Canada. The results were poverty and the many social ills that come with it… I too opposed economic development, but at the urging of fellow councillors…. I agreed to look into employment as a solution. [Today]… without a doubt, I can say, economic development, specifically major projects, has turned my peoples’ lives around, especially the younger generation.”

Mr. Ross is just one of many Indigenous leaders now speaking out in support of the responsible development of energy, minerals, and other natural resources on their lands.

For NGOs to claim that they speak on behalf of First Nations in Canada doesn’t line up with the facts.

What’s the Bottom Line?

BC LNG will reduce global emissions bus in Victoria

While anti-oil and gas organizations worldwide seek to thwart the responsible development of Canada’s LNG sector, countries abroad are moving ahead at full speed.

Qatar, Australia, Mexico, Congo, Mozambique, Nigeria, Algeria, Argentina, Oman, UAE, and the United States are just some of the countries rapidly developing their LNG export capacities to reap the economic benefits.

We need a pragmatic approach to balancing the needs of economic prosperity and reducing global emissions. We don’t have to choose one over the other; we can support all forms of energy in Canada – oil, natural gas, wind, solar, hydro, nuclear – for the benefit of Canadian and Indigenous families.

Given the important role BC LNG can play in replacing inefficient brown coal in energy production and thereby reducing CO2 emissions in China, India and other jurisdictions outside our borders, it only makes sense that BC LNG remains a key global aspect of climate mitigation.