BC’s climate change hypocrisy

Today, Christy Clark’s government provided talking points to favoured media about the province’s financial report to September 30, the second fiscal quarter. According to Global’s Keith Baldrey, natural gas royalties are down dramatically from forecasts. He tweeted “it’s a continuing downward trend that’s worth pointing out.”

I asked – without response – if Baldrey had noted that oil and rights rights sales have also trended downward, while production subsidies have gone in the opposite direction.

It surprises no one that the pot of LNG gold promised three years ago is proven to be as elusive as the treasure a leprechaun hides at rainbow’s end. What should surprise though is that BC’s natural gas industry is providing little current value to the province’s treasury. What it is contributing is unmeasured pollution. In this province, oil and gas production is almost unregulated; the government having eliminated most of its capacity to monitor and evaluate activities of the resource companies. By no coincidence, these corporations have contributed almost $20 million to the BC Liberal Party since 2005.

Arriving in Ottawa for the meeting of First Ministers, Clark, a politician who never utters truth except by accident, said:

We’ve had a black eye for a long time on environmental matters and we have not deserved it.

She’s a person who covers eyes tightly and tells the world she can see no evil.

BC Ministry of Natural Gas Development Summary of Shale Gas Development 2014:

Shale gas prospects in Northeast British Columbia continued to be the focus of industry…

Almost 90% of wells drilled in British Columbia are now targeting unconventional gas, with British Columbia’s world-class shale gas plays, such as the Horn River Basin, the Cordova Embayment, the Liard Basin and the Montney play trend, at the forefront of this activity…

Geoscience BC:

The Montney Shale Gas Play in northeast British Columbia is a world-class unconventional natural gas resource. Operations in the Montney are moving into development drilling, which will increase the demand for water and deep sites for the disposal of fluids…

Fracking, Site C and the mystery of Hudson’s Hope water contamination, Damien Gillis, Common Sense Canadian, October 30, 2015:

A series of landslides above the northeast BC community of Hudson’s Hope has been dumping contaminated soils into several local creeks, extending now to the Peace River. Local landowners whose water supply has been affected are demanding answers…

Since the summer of 2014, the ongoing slides have spewed sediment laced with toxic heavy metals – including lead, arsenic, barium, cadmium and lithium – into Brenot Creek, which flows into Lynx Creek, which in turn feeds into the Peace River. Large bars of sediment have formed in Brenot and Lynx Creeks and contaminated water has now nearly reached another major river in the area…

The top 10 air polluters in B.C., Larry Pynn & Chad Skelton, Vancouver Sun, February 2015:

Spectra Energy’s Pine River gas plant in northeast B.C. is far and away the province’s biggest single emitter of major air pollutants, according to a Vancouver Sun analysis of Environment Canada’s annual national pollutant release inventory.

Spectra Energy vice-president of external affairs Gary Weilinger said the company “meets or exceeds” provincial air pollution standards…

BC’s Dirty Secret, Dogwood Initiative:

If mined and burned, the total heat-trapping pollution from the reserves of BC’s proposed and operating coal mines will be approximately 14.8 billion tonnes. This would amount to an unbelievable 6.35 per cent of the total heat-trapping pollution scientists believe humanity can emit globally between now and 2100. Put another way, it is equivalent to adding almost 2.8 billion additional passenger cars to the road. That’s almost 3.5 times the total number of cars on the road worldwide today.


A bridge to nowhere: methane emissions and the greenhouse gas footprint of natural gas, Robert Howarth, Cornell University, April 2014:

In April 2011, we published the first peer-reviewed analysis of the greenhouse gas footprint (GHG) of shale gas, concluding that the climate impact of shale gas may be worse than that of other fossil fuels such as coal and oil because of methane emissions…

Using these new, best available data and a 20-year time period for comparing the warming potential of methane to carbon dioxide, the conclusion stands that both shale gas and conventional natural gas have a larger GHG than do coal or oil, for any possible use of natural gas…

…While it is true that less carbon dioxide is emitted per unit energy released when burning natural gas compared to coal or oil, natural gas is composed largely of methane, which itself is an extremely potent greenhouse gas. Methane is far more effective at trapping heat in the atmosphere than is carbon dioxide, and so even small rates of methane emission can have a large influence on the greenhouse gas footprints (GHGs) of natural gas use…

Air sampling reveals high emissions from gas field, Nature News & Comment, 2012:

When US government scientists began sampling the air from a tower north of Denver, Colorado, they expected urban smog — but not strong whiffs of what looked like natural gas. They eventually linked the mysterious pollution to a nearby natural-gas field…

Natural gas emits about half as much carbon dioxide as coal per unit of energy when burned, but separate teams at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, and at the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) concluded last year that methane emissions from shale gas are much larger than previously thought…

…“a big part of it is just raw gas that is leaking from the infrastructure”. Their range of 2.3–7.7% loss, with a best guess of 4%, is slightly higher than Cornell’s estimate of 2.2–3.8% for shale-gas drilling and production. It is also higher than calculations by the EPA, which revised its methodology last year and roughly doubled the official US inventory of emissions from the natural-gas industry over the past decade. Howarth says the EPA methodology translates to a 2.8% loss…

No Pro at LNG Poker

Categories: LNG, Natural Gas

Tagged as:

12 replies »

  1. Norm, I do hope you're planning to celebrate Red Tape Reduction Day each and every March.

    After all, a reduced regulatory burden is what every polluter wants from government.


  2. Our current Premier is nothing more than a confidence trickster. She has been bought by corporate interests and sadly she is selling BC down the river. But would be expect any difference after Gordon Campbell, the greatest flim flam man in BC history.


  3. “down the river” all right…..she (along with Bennett and Polak) seems to have secured passage on the luxury padde(peddle?)wheeler while the rest of us get shot down the diverting penstock and through the turbines only to be spit out penniless at the other end


  4. The reason might just be that gas extractors see little point in purchasing rights to a commodity with declining demand, but I’m wondering if the plummeting gas rights sales relate to the extraction method. Are the gas companies drilling from existing properties and using the fracking method to extract gas from under adjacent (untaxed) property?

    Anybody familiar with these operations that can answer the question for us?


  5. Norm, at one time there was a huge outcry because private corporations were handed thousands of dollars from the carbon tax. Is this still going on ?

    Guy in Victoria


  6. Can't she be sued for misappropriation of taxpayer funds? The thought of my meagre taxes going to support someone like Sukanto Tanoto (Woodfibre LNG) actually deprives me of sleep.
    What I don't understand is why supposedly smart business people continue to pour resources into a wild scheme with virtually no prospect of providing a return. I'd hazard a guess that if as much revenue had been provided to the renewable resource industry we'd all be driving electric cars, and working.


  7. Love those NDP ads! I actually felt giddy with happiness, very smart communication. I feel like there's hope in 2017!

    –strictly anonymous 🙂


  8. Agreed. The BC Liberal tradition of doing the ” wrong thing purposely” from what common sense indicates, continues.
    We are wasting valuable time and resources propping up a “dying oil industry”. The development of all green technologies would provide more jobs and make us a leader in these technologies.

    One wonders, if the involvement of the BC Liberals in Malaysia's PETRONAS gas play or Tanoto's LNG play, could be seen as misappropriation of tax payer funds. If these “regimes” are supported by criminal elements, would this not be seen as collusion by the BC Liberals, in supporting a foreign corrupt regime? In effect, a Canadian provincial government supporting organized crime” Proof however would have to be found, in my personal opinion, although one wonders who would actually look for it. Given this countries inability to go after,, prosecute and provide adequate consequence, for white collar criminal activities at government levels, it will be a while coming.

    The Charbeneau enquiry, has proven that white collar crime and corruption can exist at many levels of industry and government, in this country. BC is the next obvious choice for an enquiry of this nature…bring it on.


  9. Its not a coincidence that the shortened term for a confidence trickster (con) is the same for a conservative and a convict. Christy is two of them and should be the third.


Leave a reply but be on topic and civil.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s