90 climate experts call on Canadian govt to reject Petronas’ Pacific Northwest LNG project

Ottawa set to make final decision on controversial proposal within 90 days

Federal

Artist’s conception of proposed Petronas LNG plant slated for British Columbia.

VANCOUVER, British Columbia – A group of 90 climate scientists have written a letter to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau demanding that Ottawa not approve the $37 billion Pacific Northwest LNG project.

Leading experts on climate change – including former NASA scientist James Hansen, and Tim Flannery, chief councilor of Australia’s Climate Commission and a world expert on climate change – are among the experts who have signed the open letter to Trudeau and Environment Minister Catherine McKenna, signaling their alarm at the “significant adverse effects” they claim will be caused by a “dramatic spike in greenhouse gas emissions” if the Pacific Northwest LNG project gets a green light from the federal government.

The group released the letter in a press statement.

“As an Australian living with the consequences of gas exploitation, I know that LNG is the wrong pathway to take – from both an environmental and financial perspective,” said Tim Flannery.

Petronas’ LNG project would be one of the largest point source emitters of greenhouse gases in Canada. With the recent signing of the Paris agreement, Prime Minister Trudeau is facing his first big test on climate action.

If he approves the project, it would make it virtually impossible for BC to meet its greenhouse gas emission reduction targets, and it would undermine Canada’s international climate change commitments.

“The environmental assessment that would form the basis for a decision concerning this LNG project is incomplete and superficial. For this reason alone the proposal should be rejected outright,” said Dr. Danny Harvey, a senior Canadian climate scientist.

Harvey is a lead author with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

“Major uncertainties remain concerning greenhouse gas emissions from the fracking that would supply the natural gas, and concerning its full impact on emissions in the countries that would receive the natural gas,” he said.

Pacific NorthWest LNG is a $36 billion natural gas liquefaction and export facility on Lelu Island proposed by Malaysian energy giant Petronas. The natural gas would be supplied by Progress Energy from the Montney basin of northeast British Columbia. TransCanada Pipelines would build and operate the pipeline.

Petronas says the project will create 4,500 jobs during construction, 330 long-term jobs and 300 spinoff ones, and generate about $85 million a year in provincial taxes.

The letter outlined additional reasons for rejecting the project, including that the GHG emissions from the project are likely underestimated; a lack of adequate climate policy to reduce impacts for the project; and a lack of evidence to support that a claim by project supporters that LNG will replace coal in Asia.

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