Some consider natural gas preferable to other fossil fuels “because it emits 50-60% less carbon dioxide (CO2) during combustion.” But over the course of its’100-year lifespan natural gas’ primary component has “a radiative forcing greater than 30 times that of CO2.”1 According to the David Suzuki Foundation, “Methane is responsible for 25% of already observed changes to Earth’s climate.” Two new studies find Canada’s methane emissions drastically underreported.
Some believe the pan-Canadian climate plan is an important milestone on the pathway to mid-century decarbonization. The Federal government and provinces have agreed to “adopt strengthened building codes, to implement an effective clean fuels standard, and to increase the carbon price after 2022.” However Saskatchewan did not sign the agreement and Premiers like Christy Clark and Rachel Notley only did so because they were given “flexibility” to expand their province’s fossil fuel infrastructure. Future generations may look back upon the Trudeau era as the peak of LNG and oil sands development. Canada needs climate Churchills, not Chamberlains.
Last December, Canada thrilled the world’s environmental community by announcing its return to the fight against climate change. After its’ dazzling performance at Paris, the newly elected Trudeau government promptly returned to energy policies of the preceding administration. More than 130 scientists condemned the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency’s report on the proposed Pacific Northwest LNG terminal as “a symbol of what is wrong with environmental decision-making in Canada.” The proposed Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, in British Columbia’s most populated area, will undoubtedly be approved on December 19. This would result in a threefold increase in the number of oil tankers sailing through Vancouver, which aspires to be the world’s greenest city. Then there is the ongoing melodrama connected to the proposed Energy east pipeline in eastern Canada. Disenchantment is spreading through the environmental community. Despite this, a new report from Environment and Climate Change Canada shows Canada “gets it.”
What do the people of Canada think? The oil rich provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan want to build more pipelines to carry diluted bitumen from the oil sands. The Liberal government of British Columbia dreams of developing a “trillion dollar” LNG opportunity. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appears to be appeasing them, in return for provincial support for a national plan to curb Canada’s C02 emissions. The goal is to reduce our emissions to 30% below the 2005 level by 2030, but the concessions inherit in Trudeau’s collaborative approach could subvert any attempt to tackle climate change. A new poll finds Canadians expect Federan action against emissions. Continue reading Poll Finds Canadians Expect Federal Action Against Emissions→
Anyone trying to understand the “why?” of some (seemingly stupid) political actions should read David Mason’s recent column in the Globe and Mail. His explanation of the Canadian Government’s approval of the $36 billion (CAN) Pacific NorthWest LNG project, on Lelu Island in British Columbia, boils down to the politics of quid pro quo.