Liquefied natural gas (LNG) export development scored a political breakthrough Wednesday in British Columbia (BC), when the provincial Green Party stopped opposing the LNG Canada project on the northern Pacific coast at Kitimat.
Green leader Andrew Weaver said a new climate change policy has earned continued support by his group, which holds the balance of power in the BC legislature, for the pro-LNG minority New Democratic Party government.
In a statement to west coast Greens as he teamed up with Premier John Horgan to announce the policy, Weaver repeated his moral disdain for LNG development as a university climate change scientist. But he dropped previous Green threats to break up the coalition with the NDP over its approval and tax concessions for LNG Canada.
The new policy, titled CleanBC stands out as a “pathway for BC to be on the cutting edge of the low-carbon economy,” the Green leader said.
“I will always argue that the development of new large fossil fuel infrastructure is inconsistent with our commitments under the Paris Agreement,” he added.
“But this plan, and the preliminary work we have done on how we will achieve the remaining [carbon emission] reductions, give me confidence that our targets may be within reach and that they are certainly worth fighting for.”
The CleanBC policy includes conversion to electric cars, home and business energy efficiency, renewable power development, and cleanup aid for industry. Financial help will be drawn from annually increasing provincial carbon tax revenues.
The BC premier and allied Green Party leader predicted CleanBC will go three-quarters of the way to hitting their provincial emissions reduction targets of 40% by 2030, 60% by 2040 and 80% by 2050. Policy additions are in the planning stages.
As Horgan and Weaver unveiled the policy in Victoria, the BC government and national Green Party leader Elizabeth May filed briefs opposing the Trans Mountain oil pipeline expansion with the National Energy Board in Calgary.
The LNG Canada and Trans Mountain projects both rely on overseas tanker exports. But the LNG terminal, the associated Coastal GasLink pipeline project and resulting northern shale gas drilling primarily benefit BC. Trans Mountain serves Alberta as a growth enabler for Canada’s top industrial natural gas user, thermal oilsands plants.