B.C. announces new energy framework while approving LNG project

March 14, 2023
Province sets new rules for energy projects while providing leeway for false climate solutions

Unceded Coast Salish Territories (VANCOUVER, BC) — The B.C. government made two major announcements today, unveiling a new energy framework that includes a provincial oil and gas emissions cap and a requirement for new LNG facilities to be net zero by 2030, while also green lighting the Cedar LNG project in Northwestern B.C.

This new energy framework will require proposed LNG facilities to demonstrate ‘credible plans’ to be net zero by 2030, and even though LNG is extracted through fracking, government officials confirmed that proposals won’t need to account for the significant emissions from the fracking operations. The framework also includes a new oil and gas emissions cap, although crucial details of how the regulatory cap will function are still to be developed.

“The province can put together as many plans and targets as it wants, but if they’re still approving and building new gas megaprojects like Cedar LNG, these plans are meaningless,” said Sven Biggs, Canadian Oil and Gas Program Director for Stand.earth. “The energy framework has potential to be encouraging, but it lacks crucial details that give us a sense of whether we will actually meet the scale of climate leadership needed. In order to be effective, a ‘net zero’ plan must include the emissions from the fracking operations that produce LNG – this plan has a massive loophole, and an emissions cap needs to create certainty that absolute emissions reductions will be achieved, and does not bet the future on technologies, like carbon capture, which have not been proven.”

As part of the energy framework, the B.C. government also announced the creation of a new Clean Energy and Major Projects office to focus on clean energy development, but concerningly gave the examples of hydrogen, biofuels and renewable natural gas as clean energy projects.

“Creating a clean energy office is a step in the right direction, but championing biofuels and ‘renewable’ natural gas (RNG) as headline projects is out of touch with climate science,” said Liz McDowell, Senior Campaigns Director, Stand.earth. “In B.C, the growth of the biofuels industry is already fueling increased logging for wood pellets, and RNG is still methane gas with a huge carbon footprint – both of these are false climate solutions that take away from the renewable energy investments we urgently need in industries like solar, wind and tidal.” 

LNG is not the clean transition fuel that its advocates claim. It’s mainly methane, a highly polluting fossil fuel that is 86 times worse than carbon dioxide for warming our planet. If even a small amount of methane escapes anywhere along the process of extracting it from the earth and burning it in an engine, using LNG could emit more life-cycle GHGs than conventional fuels. These small leaks – known as fugitive emissions – are common in LNG transportation and storage, and represent a significant amount of human-caused GHG emissions. If built, emissions from Cedar LNG would be the equivalent of adding more than 250,000 gas-powered cars on the road.

Climate disasters like the record heat dome and atmospheric rivers have cost hundreds of lives and billions of dollars in British Columbia. Stand.earth is calling for the province to truly commit to an energy transition that moves away from fossil fuel projects and invests in real climate solutions.


Media contacts: 

Ziona Eyob, Media Director – Canada, canadamedia@stand.earth, +1 604 757 7279 (Pacific Time)