Horgan, Trudeau, LNG Canada, and reducing GHG with BC Hydro

The latest pitch by the oil-baron Government of to British Columbia is a sop to fool the masses that electricity will somehow reduce the carbon footprint of the natural gas industry, which already produces about 18% of the province’s pollution[CBC]. Adjust your critical thinking hats:

The promise is that building power transmission will somehow magically reduce the carbon foot print of the industry when it starts to liquefy natural gas. And by pouring federal money into the company (which will be competing on a world market for natural gas which has been low to below cost for decades)  this will somehow produce jobs in . Isn’t this all sounding a bit like the Transmountain Pipeline?

The jobs which will be produced, 10,000 of them supposedly![CHEK] are almost entirely temporary entry-level construction jobs. That’s like saying a high schooler’s summer job is a career. The permanent jobs in BC? about 96. (Where is the conservative press claim of 950 from, in contrast to several years worth of projections of closer to 100?) Oh, and those construction jobs? no requirement that any British Columbia firms or employees be involved. Read the MOU.

That Premier Horgan jumped onto this bandwagon should surprise no British Columbian. The approved, over the strenuous objections of their partners the , the construction of the Site-C Dam despite reports indicating it was not needed in BC. It was never needed in BC. The electricity was expected to flow into Alberta, for their projects, but the pipeline spat between the provinces means that market is weak to non-existent.

So how to justify a $10 billion construction project (jobs! more temporary jobs here! mostly filled by people from out-of-province) which was known long before the first shovel hit the ground to be a pointless gift of tax dollars to corporations who did not need it? Give them for less than market rate! of course.

Liquefying natural gas is energy-intensive. But it always uses electricity. So the entire justification of spending money to ship electricity to the LNG plant is not going to save any carbon pollution. In fact, the vast majority of the carbon pollution comes from the mining process – especially fracking – and from trying to ship the methane. The entire infrastructure leaks like a sieve, and methane is far worse than CO2. Encouraging the growth of this industry in BC can only result in more leakage, more carbon pollution.

No, the reason to build the power transmission is to give money to LNG Canada. If the Liberals and the BC-NDP didn’t do this, LNG Canada would either have to build generation into their LNG plant, or they would have to pay for the transmission infrastructure themselves. Trudeau might just as well have wrapped up the cash and tied it with a bow.

There are almost no up side views for British Columbians in this story. There absolutely are none for the environment.

And Trudeau – perhaps seeing a message in the polls which we do not – is moving very quickly on getting a ton of fossil-fuel industry work done before the writ drops. I hope we all remember this after it does, finally, start the official campaign.