As The Tyee put it ever so well – “George Orwell may be turning over in his grave,” seeing the accounting scheme used to justify the recently approved Cedar LNG project outside of Kitimat.
It takes the idea of a “Green Screen” to the next level.
The BC government is publically spouting their dedication to meeting carbon emissions targets. Still, behind the scenes, its decision to approve the project shows how much corporate interests pull the puppet strings.
Cedar LNG, a floating facility to be constructed near Kitimat, will export three million tonnes of LNG and produce 1.2 megatonnes of emissions annually for 40 years.
That’s the same amount of heat-trapping pollution produced by 151,240 homes every year for almost half a century.
Yet, somehow, it’s been painted as the next “green” energy project.
Let’s look at how the branding team is doing it.
Cedar LNG was approved under the 2019 Impact Assessment Act, which requires “a credible plan that describes how the project will achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.”
The BC ministers who have approved the Cedar LNG application claim the BC assessment report meets the IAA requirements.
However, a close look at Cedar LNG’s application reveals it has no plan for dealing with the 80 percent of the carbon pollution resulting from both the production and transport of gas to be liquified.
Besides this, the “plan” to handle emissions from the liquefaction terminal is to “purchase offset credits to achieve net zero in 2050.”
Essentially, in 30 years (if the terminal even lasts that long), the company will invest in some other company working to fix the mess they’ve been making.
This plan also doesn’t factor in the carbon pollution from the project’s upstream emissions, meaning those created from methane production. These will amount to 959 to 975 kilotonnes per year.
While federal and provincial regulators may ignore these emissions, they won’t be overlooked when measuring compliance with BC’s and Canada’s emission reduction targets.
As the Impact Assessment Cooperation Agreement Between Canada and British Columbia warns, “If governments are serious about the climate crisis, there can be no new investments in oil, gas and coal.”
It’s clear that the IIA’s requirements were not being met by a mile.
BC regulators and the government are touting this as an “environmentally sustainable project” simply by avoiding this fact entirely.
But adding salt to the wound, just hours after announcing Cedar LNG’s approval, the province held another news conference.
There, they announced that from now on, BC will “require all proposed LNG facilities in or entering the environmental assessment process to pass an emissions test with a credible plan to be net zero by 2030.”
Fantastic. Except for Cedar LNG. Since it was approved earlier the same day, it’s not captured by the new policy.
How very convenient!
It’s like the pickpocket that distracts you by waving one hand while the other lifts your wallet.
This cynical one-two is why people are losing faith in our governments.