BC’s move to escalate natural gas production is contrary to government’s own GHG legislation: report

October 10, 2012

(Vancouver) Just five years ago the BC government legislated targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs), but the province’s 2012 Natural Gas Strategy risks breaking that legislation.

The legislation calls for a 33% reduction in GHG emissions by 2020 and 80% by 2050. In a report released today by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives’ BC Office, CCPA senior economist Marc Lee finds that:

  • As of 2010, BC’s greenhouse gas emissions were down 4.5%. The province would have met its 2012 interim target of 6% below 2007 levels, if not for increased emissions from the natural gas industry.
  • Increased natural gas extraction and processing, mainly for export to Asia, will make it virtually impossible for BC to meet the 2020 target. In the study’s medium scenario, the rest of the economy would have to reduce emissions by 81% in order to accommodate growth in the natural gas industry.
  • The legislated targets do not count emissions from exported natural gas burned outside of BC. By 2020, these exported emissions could represent the equivalent of putting 24 to 64 million more cars on the road each year.

“The 2007 legislation to reduce GHG emissions indicated a recognition that we had to respond to climate change,” says Lee, “and we made some good progress at first. But with the 2012 Natural Gas Strategy we’ve abandoned any serious attempt to reduce our emissions.”

The Natural Gas Strategy not only poses threats to the environment and climate, but would deliver few economic benefits for ordinary British Columbians:

  • Even if the most optimistic job creation estimates are realized, growth of the natural gas industry will lead to an increase in employment of just 0.1%.
  • In spite of record high extraction levels, government royalties from natural gas have dropped from $1.9 billion in 2005/06 to a projected $157 million in 2012/13.

“The bottom line is that the government is breaking its own law,” says Lee. “Sticking to BC’s GHG law and a new round of climate action would create far more jobs than the Natural Gas Strategy.”


For more information or an interview with Marc Lee, contact Sarah Leavitt at 604-801-5121 x233 or [email protected]. BC’s Legislated Greenhouse Gas Targets vs Natural Gas Development: The Good, The Bad and the Ugly is available at policyalternatives.ca/natural-gas-ghgs.