Last June, Canada declared a climate emergency, as scientists warned that we have until 2030 to cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 45 per cent or face climate catastrophe.
The B.C. government’s CleanBC program was a welcome initiative. But B.C.’s emissions are continuing to rise, and the province will fall 25 per cent short of its 2030 emissions reduction target.
A major reason for this is the subsidies B.C. gives to the fossil fuel industry, which totalled more than $830 million last year. Added to this is the $5.35 billion incentive package that the B.C. government gave to the stalled LNG industry.
LNG markets are struggling with a glut of unprecedented levels. As a result, LNG prices have been plummeting. The coronavirus is pushing prices down further, and no one knows what will be the ultimate impact of the virus on the world economy.
LNG proponents claim that natural gas (methane) is a clean replacement for coal. In fact, LNG is dirtier than coal. This is because 3.5 to 7 per cent of it escapes into the atmosphere during fracking, processing and piping, and methane is 80 times more potent as a climate change gas than carbon dioxide over a 20 year period.
The Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs are strongly opposed to the Coastal GasLink pipeline. Their inherent right to this territory was confirmed in the Delgamuukw case of 1997 when the Supreme Court of Canada clarified that Aboriginal title constitutes an ancestral right protected by the Constitution.
For environmental, economic and Indigenous rights reasons, the Coastal GasLink pipeline and terminal projects should be cancelled.
Instead, the federal government could consider designating the 22,000 square kilometres of Wet’suwet’en land as part of Canada’s protected territory, with the Wet’suwet’en caring for the land as they have done for generations.