• GHG emissions are global, and do not respect international boundaries
• Coal-to-gas switching is proven to reduce emissions
• Natural gas is a transition fuel, there are no ifs, ands or buts about it
• Global natural gas demand is growing, and will for decades to come
• A healthy LNG sector in Canada would create immense economic benefits
The science is abundantly clear. Canadian-made liquefied natural gas (LNG) has the potential to significantly reduce net global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and play an essential role in climate action . So, like B.C. Premier David Eby and his government did for Cedar LNG, that means saying “yes” to new LNG projects.
While the approval of Cedar LNG is a huge win for First Nations, the provincial economy and the global climate (for reasons explained below), a handful of other new LNG projects are still in some part of the complex and drawn-out regulatory process Canada is known for.
Ksi Lisims LNG, Tilsbury LNG Phase 2 and LNG Canada Phase 2 should also be expediently approved by provincial and federal governments.
Here are several reasons why Canadians must say “yes” to these new LNG facilities underway in British Columbia. 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
- Canadian LNG Can Help Asia Switch from Coal to Gas, a Huge Win for the Climate
#1 – Emissions are global, let’s not pretend otherwise
Mark Carney: We still need investment into oil and gas as we advance all energy sources, including wind and solar, to meet global demand.— Canada Action (@CanadaAction) May 5, 2023
✅ Canada is low cost, low risk and is leading the world in lowering our emissions. #CdnPoli pic.twitter.com/BGd0e3nOYF
It’s no secret that we live in a global climate. GHGs emitted in one part of the world do not respect international boundaries but are free to move in any direction, as confirmed by a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences . It found that emissions from heavy industry on the east coast of Asia are drifting across the Pacific Ocean and polluting the air on North America’s west coast.
According to the report’s authors, up to 20 per cent of sulfate pollution – a product of burning coal and other fossil fuels – on Canada’s west coast is likely coming from China’s export sectors. This pollution has an even larger impact on sparsely populated remote areas with less industry, such as British Columbia.
"And as scientific evidence of transport of Chinese air pollution across the Pacific Ocean has grown since the late 1990s," the study notes.
"The United States and Canada have a special interest in reducing Chinese air pollution."
Therefore, if Canada can help usher in more coal-to-gas switching in Asia – as multiple reports suggest  – then shouldn’t we be doing everything we can to get our responsibly produced LNG to China and other nations that are heavily reliant on coal?
And we're not talking about peanuts when it comes to emissions reductions, but of saving an 'entire Canada's worth' in GHGs from being released into the atmosphere, or the equivalent of removing 41 million cars off Canada’s roads.
That's a huge win for climate action, is it not?
#2 – Coal-to-gas switching has tangible results
Coal-to-gas switching has proven time and time again to reduce greenhouse gases relative to the amount of carbon dioxide emissions produced per unit of electricity generation from these different energy sources.https://t.co/0TR4Y0RlWt— Canada Action (@CanadaAction) May 8, 2023
There are multiple examples of how coal-to-gas switching has helped save a significant amount of emissions from being released into the atmosphere.
For example, the United States is a world leader in reducing emissions mainly through coal-to-gas switching, but also from increased use of renewable energy and a levelling of electricity demand. Electric power sector emissions fell by nearly 36% between 2005 and 2021 as a result .
The International Energy Agency (IEA) also says coal-to-gas switching will play an essential role in reducing global emissions.
“Natural gas is one of the mainstays of global energy. Where it replaces more polluting fuels, it improves air quality and limits emissions of carbon dioxide,” said Fatih Birol, Executive Director of the IEA.
The IEA says that since 2010, coal-to-gas switching has prevented the release of 500 million tonnes of CO2 - an effect equivalent to putting an extra 200 million EVs running on zero-carbon electricity on the road over the same period .
The results of coal-to-gas switching on the climate are clear. Shouldn’t Canadians be doing everything we can to help facilitate coal-to-gas switching in countries across the globe?
#3 - Natural gas is a transition fuel
Norway’s biggest oil and gas companies are reviving exploration plans in Arctic waters, as the government agitates for fresh discoveries in the Barents Sea to secure the country’s future as a key energy supplier to Europe. https://t.co/i9cUgUiYc8— Canada Action (@CanadaAction) May 5, 2023
Natural gas is considered the cleanest burning fossil fuel because it produces less carbon dioxide, less particulate matter, and less other harmful emissions than coal. Hence, many world leaders and organizations widely see gas as am essential transition fuel.
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), natural gas produces about half the carbon dioxide emissions as coal when burned for electricity . Natural gas also emits significantly lower levels of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and mercury, making it a cleaner option for power generation and home heating .
The reality is that rich nations can afford to invest in new technologies like renewables, whereas the poor are looking for basic light, heat, and power for their burgeoning populations.
Different regions need different solutions to energy security and affordability, ones that are based on their available resources and how wealthy they are. So, while new wind and solar farms may be affordable for Germany, there may be a very different reality for people living in Chad or Niger, where natural gas is a much more affordable solution .
Billionaire philanthropist and tech tycoon Bill Gates, for example, understands the energy realities for differing regions the world. Gates has backed natural gas as a critical part of the globe’s transition to renewable energy, saying it is the stepping stone to a hydrogen-powered world and that poorer countries will need fossil fuels like it for years to come .
As long as the world needs natural gas, shouldn’t it come from the most stable and responsible producers? Canadian-made LNG fits the bill, with its sustainable, low-emission production and socially responsible operations that are advancing economic reconciliation with Indigenous communities.
#4 – Natural gas demand is growing
The world will consume more and more natural gas over the next few decades. So then, what producers would you choose to get your natural gas from?
1. Democracies with world-class protections for human rights and the environment
2. Autocracies with little to no governmental transparency with often abhorrent records on social progress and environmental protections
The IEA’s latest world energy outlook found global natural gas consumption to grow from 4,248 billion cubic metres equivalent (bcme) in 2021 to 4,661 bcme in 2050 .
LNG is also set to grow at a much more rapid pace, projected to grow by up by 76% in nearly two decades over 2022 levels , with Asia set to account for approximately 70% of this growth in demand.
Canada is ideally positioned to supply Asia with the energy it needs. Not only are our LNG projects set to be some of the least-carbon-intensive facilities of their kind in the world, but they will also underpin a strong and prosperous economy for Indigenous and Canadian families.
Japan, South Korea and Germany are just a few of the countries that prefer Canadian-made LNG over other supply sources due to our shared values.
Shouldn’t Canada be doing everything it can to provide our closest allies and trade partners with the energy they are asking for?
#5 - Economic benefits of a healthy LNG sector
Resources are still a major pillar of B.C. economy: study https://t.co/W7M8Xs2DyT— Canada Action (@CanadaAction) May 6, 2023
A Conference Board of Canada’s July 2020 report found that a healthy LNG sector on British Columbia’s coastline would be a significant boon to Indigenous, provincial and national economies :
> Between 2020 and 2064, total annual investments under this scenario would average over $11 billion, or more than $500 billion over the period.
> Canada’s GDP would increase, on average, by more than $11 billion per year over the term of the scenario. B.C.’s portion would exceed $8 billion annually, an increase in the province’s GDP of over 3 per cent. Alberta’s GDP would see an annual increase of $1.6 billion, or just over 0.5 per cent. For Ontario, the figure would be $1 billion, or just over 0.1 per cent of annual GDP.
> National employment would increase by 96,550 jobs annually over the life of the project. The gain of 71,000 jobs annually in British Columbia alone would represent a 3 per cent increase in total provincial employment as of May 2020.
> Ontario, Alberta, and Quebec would all see permanent job increases.
> The industry would boost total wages in Canada by over $6 billion a year, with B.C. realizing $4.6 billion of that increase.
> Over the 2020–64 period, more than $90 billion in revenue could be generated for provinces and territories in Canada. Of this total, over $78 billion would accrue to British Columbia. Over $64 billion would be generated for the federal government.
> With nearly $2 billion in annual tax and royalty payments, the LNG sector would become one of the largest revenue generators in B.C.
The report’s methodology uses a scenario where 56 megatonnes per annum of LNG export capacity is developed. If all potential projects underway in British Columbia are completed, the province will see about 45 to 46 mtpa of LNG exported from its shores which isn’t far off.
First Nations are also benefitting economically from the development of natural gas across the province.
A recent report by iTotem Analytics found a strong connection between Indigenous-affiliated businesses and the natural gas supply chain in B.C. Highlights include $540 million in spending with Indigenous-affiliated businesses, a 148% increase from 2018 to 2021 – a time where construction activities for major projects like Coastal GasLink and LNG Canada have commenced .
If developing a healthy LNG sector on Canada’s west coast means more economic opportunities and prosperity for local communities while benefiting global energy security and the environment, then shouldn’t we be doing everything we can do to build out our export facilities?
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#1 - GlobeNewswire (2023). Canada and Global Energy Security. Retrieved from https://ml.globenewswire.com/Resource/Download/ee16cfdf-f24e-4ee6-9472-dacf0c018227 on May 8, 2023.
#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 on May 8, 2023.
#3 - The Globe and Mail (2022). West Coast Air Being Fouled by Asia's Industrial Emissions Study Shows. Retrieved from https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/british-columbia/westcoast-air-being-fouled-by-asias-industrial-emissions-study-shows/article16474167/ on May 8, 2023.
#4 - Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) (2021). U.S Emissions. Retrieved from https://www.c2es.org/content/u-s-emissions/ on May 8, 2023
#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 on May 8, 2023.
#6 - U.S. Energy Information Administration. (n.d.). Natural Gas. Retrieved from https://www.eia.gov/energyexplained/natural-gas/ on May 8, 2023.
#7 - NaturalGas.org. (n.d.). Natural Gas and the Environment. Retrieved from http://naturalgas.org/environment/naturalgas/ on May 8, 2023.
#8 - The Australian. (2021, September 15). Gates backs gas in shift to green-energy world. Retrieved from https://www.theaustralian.com.au/nation/gates-backs-gas-in-shift-to-greenenergy-world/news-story/09f39fe81e4d3ddaabaf9e8075180faf on May 8, 2023.
#9 - Statista. (2022). Number of people without access to electricity by region in 2021 and 2030 (in millions). Retrieved from https://www.statista.com/statistics/264631/number-of-people-without-access-to-electricity-by-region/ on May 11, 2023.
#10 - International Energy Agency (IEA). (2022). World Energy Outlook 2022. Retrieved from https://www.iea.org/reports/world-energy-outlook-2022 on May 11, 2023.
#11 - Conference Board of Canada. (2016). A Rising Tide – The Economic Impact of B.C.'s Liquefied Natural Gas Industry. Retrieved from https://www.conferenceboard.ca/product/a-rising-tide-the-economic-impact-of-b-c-s-liquified-natural-gas-industry/ on May 11, 2023.
#12 - Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP). (2023). How Indigenous Partnerships Support British Columbia's Natural Gas and Oil Industry. Retrieved from https://context.capp.ca/infographics/2023/how-indigenous-partnerships-support-british-columbias-natural-gas-and-oil-industry/ on May 11, 2023.
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