Opinion | Woodfibre LNG is a safe bet for British Columbians concerned about the environment and economy

Recently, there was a Narwhal article targeting Woodfibre LNG with some misleading information that leaves out the benefits of LNG for the environment and economy. The article was originally written in response to the Green sweep of the West Vancouver-Sea to Sky riding in B.C.’s recent election.


Image: Squamish Chief

Originally an NDP riding, the incumbent and author of the article argue that the shift was in part, due to concerns with the Woodfibre LNG plant being planned in the area.

Controversy due to natural resource projects is nothing new in the lower mainland, however a good chunk of it is due to misleading information that opponents of oil and gas tend to spread, whether knowingly or not.

Many supporters of natural resources and of the oil and gas industry see products like LNG as being a viable and realistic means to help curb global emissions. Even better if we can continue to produce reliable energy at the same time.

However, nothing it seems will ever be good enough for the “Keep It In The Ground” kind that would rather see miles and miles of windmills of solar and wind farms, rather than a singular gas plant.

To Woodfibre LNG and this article in particular, the misleading information leaked its way into a Green Party candidates talking point.

The author of this article claims that LNG will be loaded onto enormous carriers that will be if 6 football fields in length. However, given a typical modern LNG tanker is around 300 meters long, they are less than half of what the author is claiming.

While there is a need to reduce emissions, we also need to increase energy production for the growing populations in developing countries. The world’s population is growing significantly in the next 30 years and will need countries like Canada to supply this energy with the lowest environmental impacts.

Despite claims made in the article that Woodfibre LNG will significantly increase emissions, multiple independent studies have found that LNG will decrease global emissions in China.

Opponents of oil and gas will call this ‘greenwashing’ the project. 

Opponents have expressed a concern that the project will double the emissions in the Squamish area. 

Though this is a valid concern for people in the area, according to this independent study done by environmental consulting company Mantle 314, Woodfibre LNG could decrease global emissions enough to take 700,000 cars off the road or 76 years worth of Squamish’s emissions per year.

With all the concerns about rising emissions, though common sense tells us that there won’t be much of a rise at all, it’s also important to take into account the economic impact that projects like Woodfibre will have for B.C.

While supplying reliable energy across the world, LNG will also be an economic win. Over the next 40 years, British Columbians will see an estimated $94 billion in provincial revenue from LNG projects. With the current population of 5 million, that means that per-capita revenue will $18,800. Hardly a number to scoff at.

For Canada’s economic recovery, we need to look at a multitude of factors to pull the country up by its bootstraps. Many investors are looking heavier into ESG principles than they have before. Canada is the top ranked oil and gas producing in those categories. We can produce energy with the least environmental impacts, and we can reap the economic benefits that come with it.

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