As British Columbia prepared to host this week’s First Ministers’ meeting, Premier Christy Clark faced criticism for her failure to maintain her province’s once-vaunted climate leadership, amid setbacks in her hopes for an economic boom built on fossil fuels.
New federal data confirm that British Columbia’s emissions have risen each year under Clark, “and the province is projected to fail by a large margin in meeting its own legislated emissions requirements,” the National Observer reports. The aggressive program of the continent’s first carbon tax and renewable content mandates that Clark inherited from her predecessor, Gordon Campbell, is “in disarray.”
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Meanwhile, the cancellation of one proposed LNG port, the deferral of another, and the implosion of a coal-mining play made February a bad month for Clark’s strategic bet on fossil fuels.
AltaGas Ltd. revealed last week that it could find no takers to cover the cost of its proposed C$600 million liquefied natural gas export facility at Kitimat, on the B.C. coast, and was abandoning the plan. The AltaGas proposal had been judged the most viable and likely to proceed of up to 20 LNG export facilities once envisioned by the province. Earlier last month, Royal Dutch Shell said it was pushing back at least until the end of 2016 a decision on whether to proceed with an even larger LNG project at Kitimat.
Meanwhile, a company that had been pursuing a C$35-million coal mine on Vancouver Island threw in the towel, after every member of the board and all the senior officers of Compliance Energy Corporation resigned.
“I’ve always said, out of 20, we may not get all of them,” Natural Resource Minister Reg Coleman said of the AltaGas decision. To date, no LNG project has proceeded, although Coleman insisted that a separate AltaGas proposal for a $500-million to $600-million propane export facility at Prince Rupert is still alive.