Skip to content

Council fights tar sands pipelines & LNG terminals to avert climate catastrophe

In December 2013, the Harper government told the United Nations that it forecasts emissions from the oil and gas sector will increase 48 per cent by 2030 compared to 2005 levels. Yesterday, Straight.com reported, “By 2020, British Columbia’s LNG sector could emit enough air pollution to rival the Alberta [tar] sands…” It has been estimated that even three LNG facilities could almost double the province’s total GHG emissions.

The New York Times has commented, “Avoiding [the truly alarming consequences of climate change] will require a reduction of between 40 percent and 70 percent in greenhouse gases by midcentury… [The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says] the world has only about 15 years left in which to begin to bend the emissions curve downward. Otherwise, the costs of last-minute fixes will be overwhelming.”

Today, the UN climate panel issued another stark warning.

The Associated Press reports, “[The report says] emissions, mainly from the burning of fossil fuels, may need to drop to zero by the end of this century for the world to have a decent chance of keeping the temperature rise below a level that many consider dangerous. Failure to do so … could lock the world on a trajectory with ‘irreversible’ impacts on people and the environment, the report said. …Amid its grim projections, the report also offered hope. The tools needed to set the world on a low-emissions path are there; it just has to break its addiction to the oil, coal and gas…”

“The report released Sunday caps its latest assessment, a mega-review of 30,000 climate change studies that establishes with 95-per cent certainty that nearly all warming seen since the 1950s is man-made. Today only a small minority of scientists challenge the mainstream conclusion that climate change is linked to human activity.”

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says, “Science has spoken. There is no ambiguity in their message. Leaders must act. Time is not on our side.”

The article adds, “World governments in 2009 set a goal of keeping the temperature rise below 2 degrees C… Meanwhile, emissions have risen so fast in recent years that the world has already used up two-thirds of its carbon budget, the maximum amount of CO2 that can be emitted to have a likely chance of avoiding 2 degrees of warming, the IPCC report said.” In April, the New York Times reported, “Annual emissions of greenhouse gases have risen almost twice as fast in the first decade of this century as they did in the last decades of the 20th century.”

The next UN climate summit with world leaders takes place in Lima, Peru on December 1-12, 2014. That summit is supposed to set the stage for a global climate agreement at the climate summit in Paris, France that will take place November 30 to December 11, 2015.

Edmonton-based Council of Canadians organizer Aleah Loney will be blogging for us from the Lima summit where she will be part of the Canadian Youth Climate Coalition delegation. The Council of Canadians is fighting hard to stop numerous tar sands pipelines, including the Energy East pipeline which would generate 32 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions from the crude oil production required to fill it. We are also campaigning to stop LNG export terminals in British Columbia, three of which could generate about 59,000 kilo tonnes of GHG emissions.

We are also keenly aware that the pivotal COP 21 climate summit in Paris will commence just six weeks after the October 19, 2015 federal election. It is also anticipated that a decision will be made on the Energy East pipeline by the next federal government in May 2016, that’s within the first six months of its mandate. It is also conceivable that three LNG export terminals could be in service in BC as early as 2018.

The imperative to act for climate justice has never been clearer.