Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr says Canada's pathway to a clean energy future includes not only transitioning to renewable sources of energy but also technology that makes traditional fossil fuels cleaner to produce and burn.

That path was laid out Thursday in a new report which points not only to developing more wind and solar power, but also to the environmental and economic benefits of Canada producing, shipping and burning oil and natural gas that is cleaner and more cost efficient.

The two-track approach is the main advice in the report from Carr's "generation energy" advisory council, a group of 14 people from the energy sector, indigenous communities and environmental groups.

"What this report understands is that oil and gas will be part of the energy mix for quite a while and the goal is to extract those resources more sustainably than ever," said Carr. "We are on the road to accomplishing that."

He said Canada's long-term goal is to become the world's cleanest producer of liquefied natural gas, which can then displace dirtier sources of electricity around the world, particularly coal in Asia.

Carr said the report's advice is closely aligned with a recent consensus reached by G20 energy ministers on how to move the world off the dirtiest sources of energy and will form the basis of Canada's national energy strategy which will be developed more fully in August during a federal-provincial energy ministers meeting.

Greenpeace Canada, however, is concerned that the report was developed largely by the fossil fuel industry and is not going to move the needle away from oil and gas very much.

Keith Stewart, a senior energy strategist at Greenpeace, said the report is disappointing because Canada is doubling down on oil and gas instead of being visionary and moving off fossil fuels entirely.

"Natural gas might be better than coal but it's still pretty greenhouse gas intensive," he said. "But this is supposed to be a long-term vision for a low-carbon economy and, frankly, that is an economy where oil and gas do not play a major role."

When Canada signed the Paris agreement, Stewart said it agreed to aim for having net zero emissions, where whatever emissions are produced are offset and that means "getting right off fossil fuels."

Investigative journalism has never been more important. Will you help?



A new study in the Journal Science showing methane emissions from U.S. natural gas operations that were 60% higher than official estimates is undercutting the claim that natural gas can serve as a bridge to a renewable energy future. It shows that methane leaks in the course of production, processing and transportation would have roughly the same climate impact in the short term as emissions from all U.S. coal-fired power plants. Similar studies made in Canada also shows methane emissions from oil and gas extraction to be largely underestimated.
If Mr. Carr wants to export natural gas to other countries, he should first ask the industry to clean its act. Fracking operations in Alberta, Saskatchewan and British Columbia are not only adding fuel to a warming climate, they also destroy the environment, pollute air and water and disrupt animal behaviour, threatening in particular the survival of the woodland caribou and many other species. Exploiting and exporting natural gas is far from helping our fight to reduce the impacts of climate change. It shouldn't be encouraged at any level of government including the BC government.

Cheap fossil fuels exported to Asia are more likely to displace renewables than cheap coal:
"There is no evidence that LNG [from Canada] will replace coal in Asia. … LNG will also likely displace nuclear power, renewables, and natural gas from other sources in many importing countries. There are many locations where LNG consumption would be additional to coal consumption, instead of replacing it. Importantly, GHG emissions from fracking, transport, liquefaction, and regasification significantly reduce LNG’s GHG benefits over coal.
• media [dot] wix [dot] com/ugd/f85bab_86eaddc3c8f04f5f967f0a5ccb333cda [dot] pdf

"Global climate change experts urging Canada to reject Pacific NorthWest LNG proposal"
• w w w [dot] bnn [dot] ca/global-climate-change-experts-urging-canada-to-reject-pacific-northwest-lng-proposal-1 [dot] 498005

Natural gas burns cleaner than coal, but it's no improvement on the climate front if fugitive emissions exceed a low threshold:
"Whether natural gas has lower life cycle GHG emissions than coal and oil depends on the assumed leakage rate, the global warming potential of methane over different time frames, the energy conversion efficiency, and other factors. One recent study found that methane losses must be kept below 3.2% for natural gas power plants to have lower life cycle emissions than new coal plants over short time frames of 20 years or fewer."
• w w w [dot] ucsusa [dot] org/clean-energy/coal-and-other-fossil-fuels/environmental-impacts-of-natural-gas

As established by one scientific study after another, oil & gas industry emissions are grossly under-reported.

'If we thought it was bad, it's worse:' Alberta methane releases underestimated
• w w w [dot] cbc [dot] ca/news/canada/edmonton/alberta-methane-releases-underestimated-1 [dot] 4358059

"Methane emissions from oil and gas operations around Red Deer, Alta., in November, 2016, were 15 times higher than the levels that they reported to the provincial govt, says a study in the journal, Elementa."
• w w w [dot] theglobeandmail [dot] com/report-on-business/industry-news/energy-and-resources/accuracy-of-methane-leak-reporting-in-alberta-clouds-scope-for-new-regulations/article38317582/

Same story in the U.S.
"Atmospheric tests indicate U.S. methane emissions are about 50% more than the estimates made by the U.S. Environment Protection Agency." (Postmedia, 2014)

As long as horizontal, hydraulic fracturing remains an integral component of the LNG industry using the word clean is an obscene lie meant to hide the facts.

As long as the tar sands are in full production and pipe is being laid for the trans mountain pipeline Mr. Carr is a bad joke and totally discredited. This government has lost all credibility on environmental issues.

Today's must read