Last week, the IPCC released a report delivering a final warning, stating rapid and drastic action are required to keep global warming below the threshold of irreversible damage. The week before, the BC NDP gave another LNG project the greenlight to move forward.
This government approved Cedar LNG, claiming the project is a part of their plan to “move forward as a clean energy leader”. Let’s be clear: there is no such thing as clean fossil fuels. A climate leader doesn’t approve oil & gas projects, they meet their climate targets.
The IPCC report states plainly that avoiding the worst-case scenario is only possible if we stop expanding existing or approving new coal, oil, and fracked gas. Today in Question Period, I asked why the BC NDP seem to believe they are exempt from this reality.
In her response, Minister Josie Osborne pointed to BC’s climate targets, which the BC NDP says it will meet through its award-winning CleanBC plan. It’s hard to understand how more fracked gas and LNG projects will fit within this plan.
The science is clear, expanding the fossil fuel industry and tackling climate change are fundamentally at odds. Yet, today’s response from the BC NDP only suggests more fracked gas, more LNG, and more missed climate targets.
Last week, the IPCC released their latest synthesis report. In order to reduce global warming, we need to act urgently within this decade. The report makes it clear — avoiding the worst case scenarios is only possible if we stop the expansion of new oil, gas and coal development. Despite the science, the warnings by experts and the evidence around all of us of the climate collapse, this government just approved new fossil fuel projects — Cedar LNG — and they gave the Ksi Lisims LNG proposal the green light to enter into the environmental review process.
The more that governments like this one delay action, greenwashing fossil fuels, the more catastrophic the outcomes of climate change will be, especially for marginalized people. There’s no such thing as clean fossil fuels. This government should be ashamed of themselves for trying to and attempting to greenwash LNG. The IPCC report tells us clearly, climate plans that expand fossil fuel development are not good enough. Our survival is at stake.
To the Minister of Energy, Mines and Low-Carbon Innovation: how does the minister justify approving new LNG projects in the province when the science is clear that we must stop expanding fossil fuel infrastructure?
Hon. G. Heyman:
We’re proud of the plans we put in place across all sectors to reduce emissions and meet our legislated targets. Many people in British Columbia, credible commentators, many people across the country and, in fact, many people in other governments in North America laud the B.C. government for having the most comprehensive climate action program in North America.
The member — I respect his concern about climate change. For many months now, the member and his colleague have been saying: “What are you going to do about emissions from the oil and gas industry? How can you meet your targets if you’re continuing to have fossil fuel projects?” What I said to the member is, we have a sectoral target — 33 to 38 percent reduction in emissions from the oil and gas sector by 2030. We’re committed to that target, and we will have more to say about how we are going to meet that target.
On the 14th of this much month, we released the new energy action framework that said very clearly we are going to bring in a regulated cap on emissions from the oil and gas sector in consultation with First Nations and industry to ensure that we meet our sectoral emission reduction targets. That’s exactly what we’re going to do.
We have a Minister of Energy, but when we ask questions about energy, the Minister of Energy won’t stand up. Instead, it’s the Minister of the Environment. The fact of the matter is that on that same day, just a couple of hours before, this government approved a new LNG project that does not meet….
There are only two members in this place that aren’t clapping for that.
Everybody else in this place is clapping for new fossil fuel development in a climate emergency.
Members. Let’s hear the question.
The Minister of the Environment talks about the comprehensive plans. The Minister of the Environment knows that we’re not meeting the targets that we had set in this place that aren’t clapping for that. Everybody else in this place is clapping for new fossil fuel development in a climate emergency.
Shhh, Members. Let’s hear the question.
The Minister of Environment talks about the comprehensive plans. The Minister of Environment knows that we’re not meeting the targets that we have set, the 2030 to 2050 targets. We’re missing those.
We can have all the more comprehensive plans that we want. But if we’re not committed to meeting those targets, which this government has proven that they’re not prepared to do, the plans don’t mean anything.
The fact is that in that energy action framework…. The emissions cap and the net-zero requirements that are laid out there have absolutely no substance to them. So you can say: “We’re going to go through with negotiations, with consultations. We’re going to develop those later, down the road.” They still don’t have any substance to them.
We cannot afford a government that is prepared to continue greenwashing LNG and to pretend like this fossil fuel is clean. There’s no such thing as clean fossil fuels.
The Premier knows that expanding the fossil fuel industry and tackling climate change are fundamentally at odds with each other. Why does this government believe that they are exempt from this reality?
Hon. J. Osborne:
Thank you to the House Leader of the Third Party and the member for Saanich North and the Islands for raising the question.
First of all, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy and I work very closely together on these issues because we know that the issues of energy and environment and meeting our climate action targets are intrinsically linked. That’s why it’s important that we continue to do this work together.
We very carefully considered the environmental assessment on the project that was undertaken by the environmental assessment office. This included extensive consultation with First Nations, consideration of climate action targets, working with the Haisla and the Cedar LNG project to understand and know how they are going to take every action possible to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and, in fact, signing a memorandum of understanding with the project to reach near zero emissions by 2030.
On the same day, of course, we announced the energy action framework. This is an important signal to the sector at large to say: “We need to meet these targets.”
We know British Columbians want to do this. In fact, I just returned from a trip up to the northwest portion of B.C. I was in Kitimat. I was in Terrace. I was in Smithers. I was hearing from people and talking to them about these projects.
The regulatory cap on emissions, which my colleague here spoke of…. That work is underway. It is work we are going to do with industry, with First Nations, in consultation with communities, hearing from them, so that we can set the regulations in place.
It’s not all that we’re doing. The other part of the energy action framework, of course, is the incentivizing and moving towards a clean energy future, which all British Columbians want us to be a part of setting.
The world is looking at us here in British Columbia on how we can do this work. We are going to do it with the B.C. Hydro task force. We are going to do this. We are moving towards a low-carbon-focused future, one that is prosperous for all British Columbians and means so much for First Nations and communities.