VICTORIA – Premier Christy Clark’s Liberal government says it wants to build the cleanest liquefied natural gas industry in the world, but it’s saying little about how it plans to make the industry clean.
The Liberals say LNG can pave the way to a debt-free future, but others warn about the high environmental price where every tonne of LNG that’s produced comes with a tonne of harmful greenhouse gas emissions sent into the atmosphere.
Environment Minister Mary Polak says the Liberals have their sights set on meeting legislated greenhouse gas reduction targets, but the options to control the pollution are still under discussion.
She’s hinting the province will allow LNG companies to buy carbon credits to offset emissions, a move that still results in the release of tonnes of emissions into the atmosphere but helps the government meet its pollution targets.
A recent report by Clean Energy Canada concluded B-C’s LNG plans will produce greenhouse gas emissions three-times higher than those from similar operations in Australia and Norway.
Clean Energy says three proposed Kitimat-area LNG plants are estimated to emit almost 36 million tonnes of emissions annually, more than half of B-C’s total greenhouse gas emissions of 59.1 million tonnes reported in 2011.