By Mary Polak
Minister of Environment
VICTORIA - The Memorandum of Understanding our government signed last week with Pacific NorthWest LNG moves us one step closer to ensuring British Columbia will have a new, vibrant liquefied natural gas industry, and the thousands of jobs it will bring.
Importantly, we’re also making sure we will have the cleanest LNG facilities in the world.
Our clean LNG can make a global difference, by helping developing nations like China and India displace dirty fuels. China has set a goal of almost doubling the role of natural gas in its energy portfolio by 2020, while displacing coal use. This increased use of natural gas could avoid up to 133 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions each year in China. That’s twice B.C.’s entire, annual GHG emissions output. Our natural gas could play a critical role in helping China reduce its use of coal-fired electricity, all the while providing the reassurance that when someone in China turns up their stove with B.C.’s natural gas, they'll know it's the cleanest in the world.
The centrepiece of our cleanest LNG commitment is a GHG emissions intensity benchmark that is lower than any other LNG facility in the world, at 0.16 tonnes CO2 equivalent per tonne of LNG produced. This means B.C. will be a global leader in clean LNG because our facilities will address GHGs to a higher standard than any other LNG facility in the world.
We also have an incentive program that will reward facilities investing in cleaner technology by providing an escalating incentive when plant emissions are between 0.23 and 0.16 tonnes CO2e per tonne of LNG produced. Below 0.16, a facility will earn a performance credit that can be sold to other LNG facilities.
Companies will have flexible options to reach this benchmark, including purchasing B.C.-based offsets or contributing to a technology fund. This provides an incentive to invest in GHG emission reduction projects in the natural gas and other sectors in B.C, all the while supporting our province’s burgeoning clean-tech sector. All emissions, including emergency-related and entrained CO2 GHG emissions, are measured and reported.
We acknowledge B.C. is choosing the more-difficult path to GHG reduction because we are going to reduce our emissions while supporting a strong and growing economy that includes a thriving LNG industry. We have already had some success in reducing our emissions while growing our economy. Last year we announced that B.C. had reached its first interim GHG emissions reduction target of 6% below 2007 levels by 2012.
To ensure B.C. remains a global climate leader, we recently announced our commitment to move B.C.’s climate agenda forward through the development of a new Climate Leadership Plan. We remain committed to achieving our legislated GHG reduction targets of 33% below 2007 levels by 2020, and 80% below by 2050.
We have given the LNG industry clear direction on B.C.’s environmental expectations - the cleanest LNG facilities in the world and nothing less. Along with our competitive tax regime and strong workforce planning, B.C. LNG will remain an attractive investment, generating benefits for British Columbians for many years to come.