Christy Clark’s LNG export environmental benefits being questioned

Premier Christy Clark visits with LNG industry leaders at Northern Lights College in Dawson Creek on June 20, 2014.

FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – It’s likely safe to speculate that the Toronto-based C.D Howe Institute has removed itself from the Christmas shopping list of BC Premier Christy Clark.

The independent not-for-profit research institute has this week released a study which raises doubts about the overseas environmental benefits resulting from the development of a Canadian LNG industry.

The Premier has long argued, as have many LNG project proponents, BC LNG exports to Asia will help replace coal and oil-fired power production making a global carbon contribution.

However the study authors claim, while LNG exports could reduce overall greenhouse gas emissions in China, India, Japan and Taiwan, in 9 of Canada’s likely 13 export markets, emissions would likely go up because those countries have greater supplies of renewable and lower emission power sources.

So they’ve concluded that overall it’s “far from certain” that Canadian LNG exports would have the touted global carbon reduction impact, and they also recommend the Clark government focus on reducing emissions in BC.

The development of exportable LNG requires power to cool it into a liquid, as well as energy for the tankers that would carry it, to overseas gas-fired powered plants.

So the study authors also contend that particular attention should be paid to reducing methane leakage during transportation and greenhouse gases vented during natural gas processing, arguing there’s a need for a better understanding of how much gas escapes along the whole supply chain.

That said however, it should also be noted, the government has taken some action on methane, committing in its new climate plan, released at the end of last week, to reduce methane emissions from oil and gas production by 45%.