KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – Iain Rankin is the Premier who says dealing with climate change is at the top of his list. He featured it when his government was sworn in, and he has repeated the promise.
The Premier also said recently that he supports building the Goldboro LNG project, even if that means the federal government forking out $1-billion in subsidies. When questioned about that, he readily agreed that the project would increase greenhouse gas emissions here in Nova Scotia, “but internationally, it makes sense environmentally.” The theory being that LNG “helps Germany get off coal.” As we know, the Premier continues, “the reality is coal is the most carbon intensive fuel to be burned.”
That is a grotesquely misleading platitude perpetuated by the fossil fuel industry, and repeated by our leaders- presumably because they find it convenient.
Carbon intensity does not come in just when a fuel is burned, it is a matter of how much carbon is emitted to the atmosphere over the whole life cycle of producing and consuming a fuel. A great deal of especially potent methane is emitted in the extraction and transportation of fossil gas. But even more serious with liquefied natural gas is the emissions from that first word: liquefied. It takes giant compressors burning huge amounts of fossil gas, to liquefy the fossil gas being exported. If built, Goldboro LNG would increase Nova Scotia’s GHG emissions by at least 18%.
The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers never rests in promoting its industry and heavily lobbying the halls of political power. It helped fund GHG life cycle analysis of LNG by academics who support the building ever more LNG plants. Climate scientist Andrew Weaver commended the research itself, while highlighting fundamental flaws with even the tentative support the researchers gave to the increased use of LNG.
I published my own application of the researchers’ model to the case of exporting LNG from Goldboro to Germany, assuming it is used to replace the burning of coal. The outcome was a wash- and that is if the LNG is replacing the consumption of coal.
No one anywhere has given any evidence that LNG from Goldboro would be replacing coal. Pieridae Energy CEO Alfred Sorensen in fact told Alberta media that Goldboro LNG landed in Germany is not to replace coal consumption. That helps clear the air. Coal and LNG: two dirty fuels (one with better branding) competing in Germany, while that country holds itself up as climate action leader.
LNG is the new coal
It took a while, but with the demise of President Trump, we are almost out of leaders who openly promote the use of coal. The new version of leader doublespeak is to talk and walk radically different lines. Germany talks and talks about how it is ending the use of coal. But it fires up a giant new coal plant to replace the old smaller ones being closed.
Stop the doublespeak- LNG is just another dirty fossil fuel. The excuses have to end. The jobs that we hunger for- the jobs that we need- it is high time we get those by putting our labour where we need it: working harder, working smarter and using what we have more efficiently.
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