Report says natural gas industry threatens global climate change goals

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The Global Energy Monitor has taken on Canada’s gas industry by claiming that the international boom in liquefied natural gas exports is undermining global efforts to stop climate change. The report, released on Canada Day, says there are projects in development globally that would increase natural gas supply to 806 million tonnes above what they are now by 2030.

Just over one-third of that development, 35 per cent, is in Canada. Only the United States, at 39 per cent, has more new natural gas exports in the works, the report says.

The Global Energy Monitor is an international non-governmental organization that catalogues fossil-fuel infrastructure.

The report says the increase in natural gas is driven largely by the North American fracking boom, which changed the industry about 11 years ago.

But it also says the investments are “on a collision course” with the goals of the Paris climate change accord.

Natural gas, which emits about half the greenhouse gases as coal when burned, has been put up as an alternative to produce electricity with fewer emissions. But the report says the fugitive release of methane — such as small leaks — at all stages of gas extraction and delivery contradicts that idea.

Methane is a more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, with about 30 times the warming effect. Methane is also the main component of natural gas and is responsible for one-quarter of the global warming the world has seen to date.

Ontario, which phased out its coal-fired generators as of 2014, did so by adding new gas generators as well as nuclear and renewable sources. Several plants in Alberta are being converted to natural gas over the next three years.

The federal Liberals are moving to discourage the construction of new natural gas plants, issuing regulations last week to increase the carbon tax on any new plants added after 2021. But the government is heavily supportive of exporting natural gas to Asia.

Meanwhile Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer’s climate plan, relies heavily on Canadian gas exports replacing foreign coal to reduce emissions abroad. -CINEWS

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