B.C. Premier John Horgan and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau have joined global energy players in describing Canada’s first liquefied natural gas development as a path to low-carbon energy.
The $40 billion LNG Canada project, announced in Vancouver by a global consortium led by Shell, is the way to “save Mother Earth,” said Kitimat Mayor Philip Germuth. But the environmental debate will carry on for some time, as dredging begins in the remote harbour and work begins on a pipeline across the Rocky Mountains to fill high-pressure tankers that will sail out Douglas Channel to Asia.
“There will come a day when traditional energy sources will give way to new energy sources, just as coal gives way to LNG,” Trudeau said.
Shell estimates that coal is still 30 per cent of the world energy source, while natural gas provides the equivalent energy with half the carbon dioxide emissions and only one tenth of the air pollution of coal.
LNG Canada CEO Andy Calitz referred to the environmental battle over oil pipelines in B.C., drawing laughter as he noted that the gas project “shows the Prime Minister that it can be done in Premier Horgan’s province.”
As B.C. Greens leader Andrew Weaver confirmed he will vote against tax breaks for the project negotiated by the NDP government, B.C. Liberals are expected to support a project their government worked on for years. Horgan’s government intends to repeal an LNG income tax that was imposed on the Petronas-led Pacific Northwest LNG project that was cancelled amid a slump in LNG.
The project will “help China and India wean themselves off coal,” Peace River North MLA Dan Davies told the legislature Tuesday.
Horgan has adopted the same environmental argument, after opposing it when former premier Christy Clark pushed it aggressively through her six years in office.
Horgan and B.C. Environment Minister George Heyman have promised to release a greenhouse gas plan this fall that will take into account the emissions from LNG development and develop reductions in transportation and other sources of carbon emissions in the province.