Liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports from British Columbia might help cut carbon emissions by offsetting fossil generation in some Asian markets, but would likely boost emissions in the majority of importing countries, the C.D. Howe concludes in a report released earlier this week.
On balance, it is “far from certain” that Canadian LNG exports would reduce global greenhouse gas emissions, conclude report authors James Coleman and Sarah Jordaan.
LNG exports would “reduce overall emissions if they replace coal- and oil-fired power production in China, India, Japan, and Taiwan,” CBC reports, citing Coleman and Jordan. “But they found that emissions would likely go up in Canada’s nine other likely export markets because those countries have greater supplies of renewable and lower-emission power sources.”
That conclusion “deals a blow to one of the British Columbia government’s selling points for an LNG sector,” notes Canadian Press reporter Ian Bickis. “It also comes as the government’s hopes of a thriving export market are fading, with several projects recently shelved.”
Meanwhile, ex-BP executive John Mitchell says the “golden age” proponents had foreseen for natural gas as a cleaner-burning fossil fuel “may not materialize if a surge in renewables—plus government commitments to nuclear and coal—increase uncertainty over investment in long-term gas growth projects,” JWN reports.
Mitchell’s research on the Paris climate agreement’s impact on oil and gas markets determined that gas is “not credible” as a dominant electricity source in developed countries, and “an open question” in developing countries.
“The big point is that the Paris agreements are not the end of the story,” he told JWN. “They are bound to get more severe because they are inadequate to meet the 2°C goal.”