Since the signing of the new climate treaty in Paris earlier this month, there's been plenty of debate as to whether the new global agreement is a turning point or merely more hollow promises.The answer, as the CCPA's Marc Lee has written, will be revealed in how governments and markets react. In particular, the litmus test will be whether governments, upon their return home, continue with plans to expand fossil fuel production, or instead are prepared to speak an essential truth -- that most of these ancient carbon reserves need to stay safely in the ground.
Post-Paris, many have noted that, given our new international commitment to keep global temperature rise to no more than 1.5 degrees over pre-industrial levels, it makes no sense to invest in new tarsands infrastructure, be it extraction and refining capacity or new pipelines in any direction.
But this same logic is equally true with respect to British Columbia's dirty fossil fuel development, namely, fracked gas and new liquefied natural gas infrastructure (again, both gas pipelines and LNG plants on the coast).
It's time for the provincial government to admit that its LNG project is over, and for the new federal government to clearly state that there is no room in our future for new fossil fuel development of this sort. Notably, thus far, the Trudeau government has indicated it is prepared to extend the same tax credits to the LNG industry that the Harper government had on offer, a curious way to make real a commitment to ending fossil fuel subsidies.
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So far post-Paris, Premier Christy Clark has publicly remained firmly in LNG booster mode, even as the economics favoring her pipe dream collapse around her. The premier insists a B.C. LNG industry would be doing the world a favour, by helping Asia move off coal. But the claims do not hold, as we have outlined here and here. The simple truth is that natural (fracked) gas no longer has a viable role to play in transitioning us to a zero greenhouse gas emissions economy; that argument may have had some merit if we'd gotten serious about climate change two decades ago, but the moment is lost. Time is now of the essence, and we must leap-frog directly to zero-GHG energy sources.
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