Stewart Muir makes the case for Canadian LNG on this excerpt from Coverage Journal.
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida in entrance of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz. Kishida visited Canada in January 2023 to ask for Canadian LNG, like Scholz months earlier than. Photograph from the Ottawa Citizen.
Whereas there are those that consider that Canada can only attain its local weather targets by eliminating all fossil gas production, others argue that pure fuel—together with LNG—can play an important position in decreasing greenhouse fuel emissions on the street to internet zero.
Whereas renewables will kind the foundation of a big share of GHG reductions, in keeping with latest findings from the Intergovernmental Panel on Local weather Change (IPCC), pure fuel (and particularly LNG) may also be essential in attaining the 1.5C international warming targets. Power and environmental economist Andrew Leach of the College of Alberta lately said that some eventualities would permit for fuel utilization to double from present ranges.
Absolutely an vitality supply that produces any emissions in any respect is inherently undesirable, given the necessity for accelerated motion? In actual fact, expertise is displaying that changing fossil fuels with different energies takes many a long time. Each jurisdiction may have a special path to realize GHG discount targets, whereas searching for to offer vitality merchandise at prices residents can afford. On this context, pure fuel is a confirmed transition gas and an alternative choice to higher-emitting sources, coal particularly. The perfect instance of that is the US. There, in 2005, coal made up 50 % of US electrical energy era earlier than declining to 23 % in 2019. Over the identical interval, US Power Data Administration (EIA) information present, pure fuel elevated from 19 % to 38 % of whole era. This gas switching accounts for effectively over 60 % of GHG reductions within the US over this time interval. The US is, mockingly to some, one of many few international locations near assembly their focused GHG reductions.
Extra lately, Alberta has profitablely lowered the GHG profile of its electricity sector by quickly phasing out coal and changing it with pure fuel and renewables. If this may occur in North America, it appears apparent that Canada’s ample reserves of natural fuel ought to be made out there to different international locations, with corresponding GHG reductions. Indeed, the larger alternative for Canadian pure fuel lies in supporting comparable transitions in other components of the world by means of LNG exports. That is notably true for developing international locations the place vitality poverty is endemic and renewables, whereas vital, require the “agency energy” capability of pure fuel. Attaining energy safety and assembly GHG reduction targets is solely dependent on getting access to reasonably priced vitality that additionally has a a lot decrease GHG professionalfile than coal.
Is anybody able to refuse this pathoption to these international locations? This ethical argument can’t be missed. As witnessed on the newest COP 27, developed nations which can be ready to fund climate injury reparations are additionally recognizing they’ve an obligation to share decrease emissions fuels and applied sciences.
Up to now decade, Asia Pacific nations elevated their use of coal by 15 %, at a time when all other areas are decreasing their dependence or conserving will increase low. Given the excessive GHG profile of coal, one would possibly ask, why haven’t Asia Pacific international locations already made the shift to renewables and cleaner burning natural fuel? The reason being merely that there are important price and provide points. Pure fuel is domestically scarce in most of the areas the place economies are rising quickly and there are few pipelines connecting overland to giant suppliers akin to Russia.
The IPCC’s 1.5C situation is supportive of pure fuel, however with the caveat that its use should be rigorously managed with the intention to keep away from destructive environmental impacts akin to methane launch throughout manufacturing and transport. On this regard Canada has a transparent aggressive benefit, due to a robust regulatory regime and methane discount packages which can be world-class, whereas enhancements in LNG ships additionally forestall methane launch. Many different locations world wide related to pure fuel improvement have important methane challenges. This strengthens the premise to have Canadian LNG within the market forward of different, higher-emitting sources.
The LNG Canada plant being inbuilt Kitimat is predicted to ship its first shipment in 2025, whereupon it’ll reduce emissions for its clients by the equal to 17 giant coal-fired crops – a creditable contribution to local weather action. Together with LNG Canada, a number of different terminal tasks are advancing on Canada’s west coast. They embrace the growth of a longstanding Metro Vancouver facility that may provide cleaner LNG as a gas for seagoing automotivego ships which in any other case should depend on extra polluting diesel and bunker oil.
There was important interest in growing Canada’s East Coast potential as effectively. Again in 2014 when Russia invaded Crimea, the Standing Committee on Pure Resources was instructed that Canada ought to be fascinated with how one can serve shifting European vitality safety wants even although it might take seven or eight years to construct the bodily infrastructure. As Anders Aslund of the Peterson Institute for Worldwide Economics put it then: “If Canada declares that it’s intent on exporting LNG to the good thing about Ukraine, that declaration by itself may have a constructive affect on vitality safety in Ukraine and the remainder of japanese Europe.” After this prescient outlook, a number of LNG tasks have been mooted however none got here to fruition and right here we’re eight years later and little has modified. In September 2022, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz visited Canada, hoping to supply LNG from the East Coast. Although he went house empty-handed, simply months later his nation signed a 15-year long-term LNG import contract with Qatar, to start out in 2026, which factors to a reliance on LNG at least into the 2040s (in step with IEA and different research). Tendencies in LNG sea carriers reinforce this: $60 billion value of the specialist ships have been on the order books in 2022.
Of Canada’s high 15 buying and selling companions, seven of these nations (China, Japan, South Korea, the Netherlands, France, Italy and India) are additionally among the many world’s high 10 LNG importers. With such well-established relationships already in place, Canadian LNG can extra simply discover a manner into the energy methods of the accomplice nation.
Importantly, Canadian LNG also can start to play a task within the provisions contained within the Paris Settlement to use commerce methods as a car to drive down GHGs. There’s a sense of this in the European Union’s July 2022 decision to go the Complementary Climate Delegated Act recognizing that pure fuel energy crops are climate-friendly. The ITMOS Article 6 provision of the Paris Settlement supplies a trajectory for liquefied pure fuel to create a extra speedy path to internet zero for a lot of energy-importing nations. It permits for the creation of an international marketplace for carbon credit, the place international locations can purchase and promote emissions reductions and removals to assist meet their local weather targets, leading to a extra speedy path to internet zero. This permits for the advantages of transitioning to LNG to be acknowledged and rewarded, offering extra incentives for its adoption.
Years of management in local weather coverage by Canada is giving our LNG a bonus at a time when markets are hungry for the lowest-GHG pure fuel attainable. Power consultancy Wooden Mackenzie stated that LNG shipped from Canada to Northeast Asia may have a majorly decrease local weather footprint than what is provided by present mega-producers within the US, Qatar and Australia.
LNG isn’t the one factor Canada can provide that can hasten local weather motion – important minerals and vitality metals wanted for EVs are an enormous progress opportunity – however it’s fairly important.
Canada’s potential place as a serious LNG exporter permits us to have an out-sized constructive affect on international local weather. Essential to vitality transition dialogue in Canada is that this chance for LNG exports can be a major driver of climate-positive Indigenous reconciliation. This truth isn’t misplaced on the scores of First Nations actively engaged in, and main, the fuel and LNG financial system.
There are solely seven years left till 2030 and the formidable decarbonization targets set for that yr. As an alternative to a perpetual sense of disillusionment, it’s time for the info to talk clearly. Using LNG can assist us transfer in the correct route in direction of attaining local weather targets even if it’s not an entire answer. The false dichotomy of “solely renewables” and “phasing out pure fuel as quick as attainable” is clearly debunked each by previous success of pure fuel changing coal and the fact of vitality transitions world wide.
Investing in LNG and pure fuel infrastructure not solely makes environpsychological sense, but in addition financial sense. It is going to permit Canada to capitalize on our huge assets and place us as a frontrunner within the international transition to a lower-carbon future by guaranteeing that hydrogen and renewable fuel emerge reliably and rapidly, an consequence that is in danger if innovators within the fuel indusattempt are instructed there isn’t any future for them right here. We are able to and should reject the misguided notion of phasing out pure fuel, and as an alternative embrace its potential to assist us obtain local weather targets. It’s extra seemingly that skipping LNG and fuel would make it inconceivable to realize internet zero targets. The argument in help of growing LNG checks all of the climate motion packing containers.
Stewart Muir is a cleantech entrepreneur, award-winning journalist and founder of the Useful resource Works Society. He has been following the Canadian LNG story carefully since 2011. This text is an excerpt from Coverage Journal, vol. 11 subject 1.
Posted on January 12, 2023