Montréal (Québec), August 4th 2022 — Ahead of German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s visit to Canada to discuss a potential LNG deal, environmental organizations representing millions of Canadians are launching an initiative called StoptheGas to call on the federal government to reject proposals for new East Coast gas export facilities due to climate impacts and economic risks.
“On the world stage, Canadian politicians deliver passionate speeches about climate action, but their words will be revealed as empty promises if the federal government approves new fossil gas infrastructure on the East Coast that will facilitate climate-damaging emissions. As UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said, ‘investing in new fossil fuel infrastructure is moral and economic madness,” says Kelsey Lane, Climate Policy Coordinator, Ecology Action Centre.
New East Coast gas export facilities would generate carbon pollution.
A previous version of Pieridae Energy’s Goldboro project would have added 3.7 megatonnes of carbon pollution a year, the same as burning 4 billion pounds of coal, causing Nova Scotia to go over its carbon limit by one third.
Repsol's project is estimated to generate at least 1.2 megatonnes of carbon pollution a year – equivalent to burning 1.3 billion pounds of coal. That would make it impossible for New Brunswick to meet its climate target.
Neither figure includes emissions generated when the gas is burned – where the vast majority of emissions are generated.
"Canada has promised to cap greenhouse gas emissions from the oil and gas sector. Any new methane gas infrastructure must comply with the cap. We can't continue to let the fossil gas industry weaken climate policy in Canada," says Louise Comeau, Director Climate Change and Energy Solutions, Conservation Council of New Brunswick.
In Canada, communities from coast to coast to coast have recently experienced devastating climate impacts. Last summer’s heat wave saw Western Canada break over 100 temperature records. Hundreds of people lost their lives, and thousands were evacuated due to wildfires. The IPCC – the world’s preeminent climate science authority – notes that to avoid the worst of climate catastrophes, the world’s carbon emissions need to start falling before 2025, which requires a swift move away from fossil fuels and increased investments in renewables.
“Canada is the only advanced country that has never met any climate commitment, and is the last place that needs to develop new fossil fuel infrastructure, such as LNG export projects, that will add huge amounts of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere,” says Jim Emberger, New Brunswick Anti-Shale Gas Alliance.
It’s likely at least one of the proposed projects will involve fracked gas, which is associated with risks to water contamination, health damages, ground contamination, air pollution, carbon emissions, and human rights violations. “Germany refuses to allow fracking within its borders but apparently is fine with lifting hard-fought fracking moratoriums in the Atlantic provinces and foisting the health, environmental and social ills associated with fracking on Canadian citizens,” Emberger adds.
“The federal government using the war in Ukraine to try to hoodwink the public that LNG projects are a necessary evil is morally wrong and ignores basic facts. The proposed project at Goldboro Nova Scotia would create large work camps, threatening the safety of Mi’kmaw women, girls, and two-spirit people. LNG export plants will blow our chances of meeting emissions targets in a region of Canada that has protected our water and communities from fracking. And all this for projects that have no hope of coming online faster than truly clean alternatives, such as wind, solar, and energy efficiency,” says Gretchen Fitzgerald, National Programs Director, Sierra Club Canada Foundation.
The projects also carry significant economic risks. “It’s disingenuous for Canada to claim new LNG export plants are about helping Europe – when multiple studies show Europe’s energy needs will largely be resolved years before any new Canadian LNG infrastructure is up and running. As the world, including Europe, turns to renewable energy and energy efficiency, these LNG projects risk becoming stranded assets. Canada already has enough fossil infrastructure generating headlines for ballooning costs and companies begging for government subsidies because investors won’t support new fossil fuel projects. Instead, let’s help Germany –
and ourselves – reduce dependency on volatile and harmful fossil fuels,” says Caroline Brouillette, National Policy Manager, Climate Action Network Canada.
An Abacus Data poll conducted in June found that:
A majority of Canadians believe climate impacts should be a deciding factor in whether Canada approves or rejects a new LNG export facility
Only 3 in 10 Canadians support a new East Coast LNG export facility
Canadians are divided on whether these projects would help Europe’s energy needs or be pointless.
Stop the Gas is supported by the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment (CAPE), the Climate Emergency Unit, Climate Action Network Canada, the Conservation Council of New Brunswick, Council of Canadians, Ecology Action Centre, Équiterre, Environmental Defence, Leadnow, New Brunswick Anti-Shale Gas Alliance (NBASGA), No Frac (Nova Scotia Fracking Resource and Action Coalition), 350.org, Sierra Club Canada Foundation, and Stand.earth
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