A sustainable planet matters

Writer says LNG Canada project is bad news for climate change.


The proposed LNG Canada Project would bring short term benefits that would advance some of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. The jobs are attractive to all. But the mid to long term impacts of the project would jeopardize achieving any of the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals.

This is the largest project in Canada which will not take place in a silo but will affect the entire planet. We will pay for boom and bust jobs that last about four years in the following ways:

The world’s most authoritative voice on climate change just released its latest report. The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change or IPCC says we must cease fossil fuel expansion immediately. That means no new fracking projects like LNG Canada.

The Panel says we have 12 years to move off fossil fuels if we want to resist warming to 1.5 degrees or we will face disasterous consequences. Canada must cut emissions by 50 per cent in 12 years.

According to the World Bank, Canada is the third largest CO2 emitter per capita in the world and that is before including the emissions from the proposed LNG project.

NASA says atmospheric carbon concentrations continue to rise. We are now at 409 ppm of CO2. Over 400 ppm scientists cannot predict what the atmosphere will do.

The World Health Organization calls climate change the “greatest threat to global health in the 21st century.”

In the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences tipping points like permafrost thaw, loss of methane hydrates from the ocean floor, weaker land and ocean carbon sinks; the loss of arctic summer sea ice and reduction of Antarctic sea ice and polar ice sheets can all act like dominoes pushing each other over. The arctic is melting faster than even predicted.

If global emissions don’t decrease, many ecosystems, plants and animals will face widespread extinction this century.

Environmentalists say our level of annual emissions has barely budged since 2007.

David Suzuki, along with clean energy think tank, The Pembina Institute say The Paris Climate Accord targets for 2030 are woefully inadequate and the B.C. Climate goals are both impossible to reach with the proposed LNG project.

GHG emissions from the entire LNG project alone could be 8.6 million tonnes a year from well head to export terminal.

There is nothing in the LNG Canada proposal that says two coal plants will be shut down in other countries in order to make this project less threatening to the health of our planet. Quite to the contrary, freely available LNG may actually hamper Asia’s plans to move to alternative energy.

Our province is experiencing climate change every year now and we have had 2,100 wildfires to date in 2018. No one wants B.C. to be further devastated with more wildfires, glacial melt, flooding, drought, heat waves, mudslides, more slow moving more intense severe storms, warmer water temperatures, along with rising sea levels and marine life in crisis. Wildfires undermine our air quality.

I wonder if the massive amounts of CO2 we put into the atmosphere each year now with strengthening wildfires are even being added into our already climbing greenhouse gas emissions which have increased not decreased.

How is the northwest being affected by climate change without the additional emissions of the proposed LNG project?

The Stikine and Skeena-Nass regions remain at drought level 4-extremely dry. Jim Culp says the Lakelse River is the lowest he has ever seen it in the 44 years he has lived here. The return of pink salmon was smaller by a huge margin compared to even low cycle years.

If current conditions prevail, there is the possibility many small tributaries will not be accessible to Coho salmon for spawning. Many streams are dry in other watersheds. High water temperatures are tough for juvenile salmonids in small low flow streams. Early sockeye could have been impacted by super warm water in the Lakelse system. Glacial fed streams also had low flows.

Mark Cleveland, Gitanyow biologist, says the Nass River is 50 per cent below normal and 30 per cent lower than the lowest ever recorded levels. Salmon are trapped and reproduction may suffer greatly. Fish are holding in the main stream of the Skeena but they need more water for their journey so their energy could run out. Implications for the long term must be studied.

Hans Schryer, UBC Professor Emeritus of Land & Water Systems, says “We are at a threshold right now and municipal politicians do not seem to want to address our land & water resources, our use of ground water and how to manage water resources better.”

It is starting to snow on the mountains so water run off may not happen until next spring. And I just want to say “Do you notice how fast this is all happening?”

To say that the LNG Canada project will give us money needed to begin sustainable green projects is to me like saying we will pour good potable water into a sinking ship leaking fuel into our already acidic oceans. I don’t think Mother Nature can withstand the emissions from LNG to accomodate that reasoning. We are living on borrowed time.

Make no mistake, we all want jobs for everyone but not just for four years when the consequences of this proposed LNG project are so destructive to the environment and atmosphere. The number of permanent jobs might be nearly the same with clean energy projects working toward a sustainable community and a healthy future.

Climate impacts will affect us much more than moving to renewable energy. We have 12 years to move off fossil fuels. The ecological crisis is a political crisis.

Climate change has cost $3 trillion so far and climate change is predicted to be the economic ruin of the world.

Mary Ann Shannon


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