Canada Needs to Have an “Adult Conversation” on How to Reduce Global Emissions (by Exporting LNG)

Canada Needs to Have An Adult Conversation on How to Reduce Global Emissions cover

Most people should understand that greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions don’t respect international boundaries. A molecule of carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted by a coal plant in China, for example, may very well cross the Pacific Ocean and end up in North America [1].

So, if Canada can help reduce net global emissions by exporting its responsibly produced liquefied natural gas (LNG) to displace more intensive forms of energy generation abroad, it seems like a practical solution to reducing atmospheric GHGs and helping fight climate change, does it not?

Goldy Hyder, President and CEO of the Business Council of Canada, would say so. In a recent interview on CBC, Hyder eloquently explained that Canada needs to change its purview on emissions reductions at home and start focusing on a global scale.

“If we're going to have an adult conversation about how to reduce emissions, we have to do it from a global perspective, not a local perspective. Canada has the capacity to help countries like Japan, Korea, India, China, and others who are building up coal plants to offload that onto liquefied natural gas, LNG, which, you know, next year the LNG Canada project will come online and there's a permitting done for phase two,” said Hyder.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida came to Canada in January 2023 looking for a new and reliable LNG supplier in an attempt to pivot away from Russian energy. Not long afterwards, Ambassadors from Japan and South Korea participated in a live seminar where they made it clear that Canadian-made LNG was wanted in both countries and that they viewed Canada as a potential energy ally and reliable source of supply [3].

When asked about Canada’s emissions per capita by the CBC host, Hyder explained, in more or less words, that Canadian-made energy is simply the best choice for the world.

“The choices are very limited for people who want oil and gas. And of all of the choices that they have, Canada is the cleanest. Canada is the one most committed to the environment. Canada is the one that's most committed to the innovation. So we can be a part of the solution.”

“Our government should be pushing the fight for article six, right? The idea that maybe Canada's emissions have to go up, but the global emissions come down. So if you're serious about climate change, that should be the objective. Not penalizing an industry here that's trying to help offset the increase in emissions that's taking place around the world.”

Hyder refers to the Paris Agreement’s Article Six, which states that participating nations can agree to take bilateral actions to reduce or remove GHG emissions from the atmosphere [2] – much like how displacing coal-fired power in Asia with world-class Canadian LNG would help reduce net global emissions, as several studies show [4][5][6].

But why should we listen to Mr. Hyder?

Founded in 1976, the Business Council of Canada is “…committed to building a better future for all Canadians. Drawing on the experiences and expertise of our members, we provide unique insights, data-drive policy recommendations and in-depth analysis across a broad range of economic and social issues.”

The council consists of more than 170 chief executives and entrepreneurs of Canada’s leading and largest companies, of whom account for 50 per cent of private sector gross domestic production (GDP) and employ more than 2 million people combined. Its objective is to strengthen Canada’s economy, its social fabric, and economic institutions [7].

With struggling labour productivity and concerning investment levels, perhaps Canada should take heed of Mr. Hyder’s advice and develop its nascent LNG industry at an expedited pace to benefit Canadians, Indigenous communities, global energy security, and take part in the fight against global warming.

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SOURCES:

1 - https://today.usc.edu/metals-chinese-coal-plants-pacific-ocean-marine-life-usc-research/

2 - https://www.iisd.org/articles/paris-agreement-article-6-rules

3 - https://www.biv.com/news/resources-agriculture/korea-japan-want-canadian-lng-can-canada-deliver-8270599

4 - https://chamber.ca/wp-content/uploads/2023/04/Canada_and_Global_Energy_Security_March_2023.pdf

5 - https://nsadvocate.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/LifeCycle-LNG-Env-Sci-Tech-524-1735-1746-for-Ken.pdf

6 - https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0959652620307484

7 - https://thebusinesscouncil.ca/about-us/