Canadian LNG Can Help Asia Switch from Coal to Gas, a Huge Win for the Climate
Anti-Canadian energy activists are turning a blind eye to practical ways of reducing emissions in the near-to-medium term, like transitioning from coal to cleaner-burning natural gas for power and heat generation. So then, why do they oppose the science that shows Canadian LNG to Asia is a huge win for the climate?
Coal-to-gas switching has proven time and time again to reduce greenhouse gases (GHGs) relative to the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions produced per unit of electricity generation from these different energy sources. This reality is a serious conundrum for Canadian oil and natural gas opponents – one that is not going away and is slowly, but surely unravelling the notion that these climate activists want emissions reductions at all costs.
If we ever doubted it before, we now know that emissions reductions while ensuring the world has stable and sufficient energy supplies are not what some climate activists want. This is demonstrated by their continued opposition towards responsibly produced Canadian liquefied natural gas (LNG), which could substantially reduce greenhouse gases (GHGs) when substituted for coal-fired power and heat generation in Asia.
And we are not talking just about a teeny bit of reductions here and there, but of significant decreases equivalent to removing more than all the cars on Canada’s roads , or saving an ‘entire Canada’ in emissions  as outlined in two separate analyses.
But these examples above are just projections. What about the real-world results of coal-to-gas switching; where can we see its tangible positive effects on GHGs around the globe? Also see:
- B.C. LNG to Asia Could 'Save a Canada' in Global Emissions: REPORT
- Fracking for Natural Gas in British Columbia: 6 Questions and Answers
Ex #1 - Alberta
Canada’s energy powerhouse is leading by example not just in deploying new renewable capacity, but also in reducing emissions by switching to less GHG-intensive forms of power generation.
According to the Alberta government, the province will effectively phase out all coal power by the end of 2023 and bring about further emissions reductions.
Researchers found that the phase-out of coal in Alberta is a huge climate action success story, finding that GHG emissions from its electricity sector were down nearly 50% between 2015 and 2020 , with natural gas picking up the slack.
Ex #2 - United States
Canada’s closest ally and trade partner – and largest competitor in global oil and gas markets – has reduced its energy-related CO2 emissions more than any other country since 2000 .
How did the Americans do it?
The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) says that fuel switching to natural gas from coal has resulted in a power-sector CO2 emissions decline of more than 30% from 20005 to 2019, even as the economy grew 28% .
Ex #3 - Worldwide
The International Energy Agency (IEA) also explains the importance of coal-to-gas switching as a critical part of continued emission reduction efforts worldwide in a special 2019 report .
It found that since 2010 (or between 2010-2018), coal-to-gas switching had saved 500 million tonnes of CO2 from entering the atmosphere - an effect equivalent to putting an extra 200 million EVs running on zero-carbon electricity on the road over the same period .
That’s no small potatoes now is it?
Global GHG Reductions is the Goal
If we follow the logic of Canadian LNG opponents, who are focused on domestic emission increases from LNG developments despite a net reduction in global GHGs these projects can attain, then shouldn’t these examples of regional coal-to-gas switching not be dismissed?
Just the other day, one of these opponents did us the favour of sharing our balanced, fact-based and pragmatic discussion around Canada’s LNG opportunity with its thousands of followers:
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Canadian LNG opponents can continue denying the facts all they want. However, Canadians must continue to see through their hyper-sensationalized rhetoric and understand that atmospheric gases do not respect international boundaries.
Hence, if Canadians can help reduce net global emissions by producing more here at home while reaping the economic benefits of developing a healthy LNG export sector, we should not even think twice!
It is more critical than ever before that we continue engaging in pragmatic discussions about the significant problems we collectively face as a global community such as energy poverty and security, and climate action – and how we can balance all these concerns without destroying our energy-reliant economies.
Canada has a real opportunity to bolster its economy through the responsible development of new LNG export facilities, which will also help advance economic reconciliation with Indigenous communities. Haisla Nation’s Cedar LNG project is an excellent example of how First Nations are now becoming project partners as they look to generate own-source revenues and break the cycles of intergenerational poverty within their communities.
This good news story needs to be told more to Canadians and the world. Because if remote Indigenous communities in Canada aren’t allowed to build these LNG export projects, other less responsible countries abroad will.
Global LNG demand is growing and will for decades to come . As long as the world needs natural gas, it should come from responsible, reliable and democratic producers like Canada with strong protections for human rights and the environment.
The facts show that Canadian LNG will reduce global emissions via coal-to-gas switching in Asia despite what you hear from opponents. Let's be honest about that.
1 - Canadian Energy Centre. (2022). The Role of Canadian LNG in Asia. Retrieved from https://www.canadianenergycentre.ca/wp-content/uploads/2022/11/WM-CEC-Role-of-Canadian-LNG-in-Asia-Public-Report.pdf. Date Accessed: November 29, 2021.
2 - Canadian Chamber of Commerce. (2023). Canada and Global Energy Security. Retrieved from https://chamber.ca/wp-content/uploads/2023/04/Canada_and_Global_Energy_Security_March_2023.pdf. Date Accessed: November 29, 2021.
3 - CBC News. (2020, October 4). What's next? The future of Alberta's coal sector is being written now. Retrieved from https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/road-ahead-alberta-coal-power-electricity-decline-1.5761858. Date Accessed: November 29, 2021.
4 - American Petroleum Institute. (2021, July 12). Eight Points: Natural Gas - Reducing Emissions and Environment. Retrieved from https://www.api.org/news-policy-and-issues/blog/2021/07/12/eight-points-natural-gas-reducing-emissions-and-environment. Date Accessed: November 29, 2021.
5 - International Energy Agency. (2021). The Role of Gas in Today's Energy Transitions. Retrieved from https://www.iea.org/reports/the-role-of-gas-in-todays-energy-transitions. Date Accessed: November 29, 2021.
6 - Shell. (2023). LNG Outlook 2023. Retrieved from https://www.shell.com/energy-and-innovation/natural-gas/liquefied-natural-gas-lng/lng-outlook-2023.html. Date Accessed: November 29, 2021.
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