Al Gore's climate group criticizes B.C. LNG

By Jenny Tan

February 25, 2016

The head of a climate advocacy group led by former U.S. vice-president Al Gore is calling for B.C. to abandon its plans for a liquefied natural gas industry.

The call comes just weeks after B.C. Premier Christy Clark acknowledged that none of the LNG commitments she made during her 2013 campaign has been realized.

Relying on LNG for revenue is “risky”, Ken Berlin, CEO of the Climate Reality Project, told the Vancouver Sun. “Natural gas is playing an important role in replacing coal, but it is still a fossil fuel. I think you are going to see, certainly in 10 years and more likely in three to five years, solar and wind being more competitive than natural gas. And then what do you do?

“I would say to do that would be very, very risky for the province.”

After a TED talk on Thursday in Vancouver, Al Gore suggested the top eight countries where climate efforts should be focused are China, India, the U.S., Canada, Brazil, the Philippines, South Africa and Australia.

“If you are going to do kung-fu or ju-jitsu on climate, those are the eight target zones where you are going to maximize your efforts,” Gore told a private lunch audience after last week’s TED talk, as reported by the Sun.

Premier Christy Clark campaigned in 2013 on a sizeable economic boost to B.C. from LNG revenue. She promised to settle all of B.C.’s debts with LNG revenue, start a $100-billion ‘prosperity fund’, and create 100,000 new jobs in LNG.

So far, the government has received no money from LNG and no construction of any LNG facility has been confirmed.

"Success isn't for quitters," Clark told the CBC.  "In order to succeed in this tough economy, we need to stick with it."

However, Clark admitted that "with oil at 30 bucks, it is very unstable times."

B.C. Finance Minister Mike de Jong noted the province is not likely to see LNG revenue until at least 2018. Companies are also unsure of the industry’s future. Recently, Royal Dutch Shell postponed its $50-billion investment in an LNG development in Kitimat.

It’s been a tough year for the industry, executive director of Energy Services B.C. Art Jarvis told the CBC. "We're pretty concerned here about the future — the near future and the long future.”



Photo Credit: Steve Jurvetson