We live in a world of fast-talking politicians, much like fast food, with lots of fat and very little substance. Sometimes it’s difficult to determine whether to laugh or cry when provincial politicians speak.
The last couple of years, you’d say all our politicians are drunk as they see the big pink LNG elephant in the room. And Christie “Campbell” beats the LNG drum loudest: 1. A clean and safe energy; 2. 100,000 jobs created; and, 3. B..C’s debt will be paid off.
LNG is far from being a safe and clean source of energy; it may have the ability to make carbon appear as Dr. Jekyll to LNG’s Mr. Hyde.
Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) and the petroleum industry are responsible for the majority of methane emissions, which according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency accounted for nine per cent of all greenhouse gases in 2012. Methane is carbon dioxide on steroids. It is 20+ times more potent than CO2 over a 100-year period; in other words, one pound of methane will trap 20 times more heat than CO2.
The LNG industry is only in its fledgling years, and it’s already in second place in trapping heat. Once B.C., China, Russia and several other countries that are sitting on huge deposits enter the field, methane will be the number one monster in trapping heat.
At present, lakes in the Arctic are releasing vast stores of methane into the atmosphere as the permafrost thaws, and conservative figures show that there are hundreds of times more methane under the permafrost than there is in the atmosphere today.
Scientists believe that a sudden release of that methane store is most unlikely, yet approximately 56 million years ago during the Paleocene period there was a sudden temperature spike of 9 degrees F after a prolonged planetary warming period, which many believe was a destabilization of methane hydrates.
The retrieval of LNG in Pennsylvania and Australia through means of fracking has left moonscapes where once vibrant living forests survived, and have polluted water tables, even though the industry states that the shale beds are thousands of feet below drinking water aquifers which would be physically impossible to contaminate.
In Pennsylvania the DEP has fined several companies over fracking causing contamination to creeks, rivers, and water tables.
B.C. will pay a heavy price environmentally, but it remains on the back burners due to the Northern Gateway pipeline publicity. As for jobs, there will be plenty of temporary jobs in the building of the industry, but what impact will it have on other industries, such as forestry?
The interior has been ravaged by pine beetle. Now, imagine a LNG explosion in an isolated region along its pipeline — and it will happen, sort of like the oil industry stating their industry is fine even with hundreds of leaks every year in Canada.
As for perception, it seems that education, health care, tourism, and BC Ferries are all taking a hit. Is this because the Government is so focused on the pink LNG elephant it’s forgotten about those working today?
It seems B.C.’s government, which is second last in Canada in funding students, will have difficulty finding employees and will have to search in Ontario or Alberta where they almost double what B.C. puts into its students financially.
As for paying off the debt, this is an illusion. In Australia and Pennsylvania the debt load per taxpayer has increased due to the subsidization of the LNG industry, and property taxes have doubled or tripled in certain regions, creating hardships.
If only our B.C. politicians would stop giving us the “Once Upon a Time” version in an attempt to get re-elected, and instead give us the complete meal deal. The problem is our health care system wouldn’t be able to handle the cardiac arrests resulting from politicians speaking honestly.
Lawrence Woodall is a longtime naturalist who has spent much of his life in the outdoors.