THE NEWSPAPER’S VIEW
Natural gas presents BC with challenges, opportunities
Vancouver Sun March 6, 2012-03-06
The newspaper’s article points out that if the US uses coal to power its LNG compression activities it will defeat the exercise. What exercise? The movement away from fossil fuels to reduce our carbon footprint? This exercise is economic not environmental. There is in fact a carbon advantage to LNG extracted from shale fields with hydraulic fracking, compressed and exported as long as we pretend the carbon equivalent of the methane leakage at well heads is minimized. (Howarth et al Cornell University). There is no reason to believe anyone is too worried that a few billion tons of pure invisible odourless methane leaking from well heads is worth regulating or policing too closely as we try to compete with Qatar and now the US in the rush to satisfy China’s current need for LNG. Its human nature to sell ourselves on the idea that all this newfound LNG is an environmental savior compared to coal fired electricity. Let’s pretend natural gas is not a fossil fuel and extracting, compressing, transporting, and burning it are somehow transitioning ourselves to an alternate energy future. The alternate energy goals of the future that will allow our children to play outdoors are contingent upon our willingness to pay a price, make an investment, and the economics of natural gas should be seen for what they are, a stumbling block, on the road to the future we all agree we want. Cheap natural gas is taking away a big chunk of the investment in the future of renewable energy with very little if any benefit in terms of carbon.
The newspaper’s view is also that SITE C makes even more sense given the fact we need more clean hydro electricity to compress all this natural gas but in fact all the water from SITE C will be used up in the fracking process as we try to extract more and more natural gas from shale fields.
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