PNW LNG could be Canada’s biggest carbon polluter: Pembina Institute

A rendering of the Pacific Northwest LNG project.A rendering of the Pacific Northwest LNG project.

VANCOUVER, B.C. — The debate continues over the development of a B.C. LNG industry, with the focus for the moment on the Pacific NorthWest LNG project.

Its future now appears to rest with the Trudeau cabinet, which is believed to be engaged in a delicate political balancing act regarding, its economic development, and carbon pollution reduction files.

The potential economic benefits of the Petronas-backed project have been well-documented, but its opponents are concerned federal government greenhouse gas calculations might have underestimated methane leakage associated with upstream fracking operations.

Therefore, they worry recent calculations by the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency; on which the cabinet is expected to rely heavily in determining its project verdict, are distorted by a lack of methane emission data.

The clean-energy think thank Pembina Institute has two key methane concerns.

Horne argues Pacific Northwest LNG could become the largest carbon polluter in the country and the Institute warns that upstream methane emissions associated with the Petronas project could account for 75 to 87 per cent of the emissions allowed under B.C.’s 2050 target.

Thus, there’s concern about not being able to meet Canadian commitments in the Paris Agreement and Vancouver Declaration to reduce carbon pollution and address the climate crisis.

That noted, Horne is ‘fairly optimistic’ B.C. will address the methane problem with new regulations when it updates its climate action plan.