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.
With the election approaching, the Pembina Institute brought together prominent candidates from B.C.’s three major political parties to debate the province’s road to a more planet friendly future. Despite the underlying tension, everyone was polite. There was laughter. Yet Pembina’s clean energy & climate debate illustrated very “alternate” realities.
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.
British Columbia introduced its’ carbon tax on July 1, 2008. Though Premier Christy Clark’s only contribution was to freeze the rates in 2012, her government portrays itself as a climate leader. Most recently, our province received one of 13 ‘Momentum for Change’ awards handed out at COP 22. A new report shows that, far from being a climate leader, British Columbia is sabotaging Canada’s climate actions.