BC Government emission targets more illusive than a Sasquatch

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Our ambitious targets are not being helped by:

  • The Trans Mountain petroleum pipeline expansion, moved forward in spite of B.C.’s objections when Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau nationalized the project, which would triple the flow of carbon-laden bitumen from Alberta to the Port of Vancouver.

    Horgan is still proud of the other two: a $17 billion liquefied natural gas terminal up the B.C. coast in Kitimat, and a $6.6 billion pipeline linking it to northeastern B.C.’s gas fracking fields.  Fossil fuel production contributed half of the province’s industrial emissions in 2018 and have risen eight per cent since 2007.

    This is a significant challenge to the goal, set by Horgan’s government in 2018, to cut emissions 40 per cent by 2030 compared to 2007. In December, a government report said rising emissions from industry and transportation meant B.C. could miss its 2030 target by nearly half (see graph above). Graph from: BC Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy.

    Wu at the Pembina Institute, a member of the government’s Climate Solutions Council, called the report “sobering” — not least because the report failed to spell out steps to close B.C.’s emissions gap, as the government had promised.  Calculations by the Pembina Institute confirm the long-term scale of the challenge. It found that the LNG terminal in Kitimat would release the equivalent of three to four million tonnes of CO2 per year, and carbon emissions associated with producing and delivering its gas would add another five million tonnes. That one project could thus produce two-thirds of the greenhouse gases allowable in 2050 under B.C law.
    Continued expansion of natural gas harbours a second climate risk: leaks of particularly climate-unfriendly methane. While shifting power plants from coal to cleaner-burning natural gas has slowed the growth in carbon emissions worldwide in recent decades, methane leaks erode some of that advantage. Exporting natural gas as LNG adds still more climate impact because extra energy is used in chilling and shipping. Experts increasingly warn that LNG could soon rival coal as a contributor to climate warming. 
    Meanwhile, construction of B.C.’s fossil megaprojects has continued during the pandemic as an “essential service” in spite of the risks that their work camps bring to rural communities, and forceful calls from First Nations to shut them down. The construction has exacerbated ongoing tensions with First Nations, such as the Wet’suwet’en, which sparked Canada-wide protests one year ago.

    Source: The Tyee

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