Video: Jennifer Rice Speaking on Greenhouse Gases

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“I rise today to speak to Bill 2, the Greenhouse Gas Industrial Reporting and Control Act.

I’d like to start out today with a statement that the Environment Minister has said. She said: “There is no point in establishing an LNG industry in British Columbia if we can’t protect the environment.” Now, I think those are really telling words, and I agree with them, but I must contrast that with a comment that I heard in this House yesterday from the first speaker, the person that led off this debate on Bill 2.

The member for Chilliwack-Hope said: “But I want to explain my support of this bill, which combats global warming, particularly when I’m not naturally inclined to believe in the science of global warming. I think I represent many of my constituents as well. Although I’m not convinced of human-caused or so-called anthropogenic global warming, I wouldn’t call myself a denier either. I’m more of an agnostic on the question.”

The dichotomy of the statements from the members in this House is really confusing. The members opposite are often talking about the ’90s. Now, in the ’90s I was a teenager. I really think that this demonstrates the archaic thinking of some of the members on the opposite side of the House.

Global climate change is that — a global issue. It’s the issue of this generation. It should be imminent, uppermost, on our minds. I’d like to say that I support LNG for British Columbians. I support LNG for British Columbians, provided that it comes with good-paying jobs for British Columbians. I support it if we get a fair return for our resources. I support it if First Nations are respected and they benefit from the resource. Lastly, and obviously, I support it if the protection of our air, land and water, including living up to our climate change commitments, are upheld. Bill 2 clearly does not meet this test.

I support good-paying LNG jobs for the local people in my community of Prince Rupert. They eagerly await the promised benefits from our enthusiastic Premier. The Premier touted a trillion-dollar industry for northern British Columbia, and my constituents eagerly await this prosperity. It is paramount that LNG proponents enter into express guarantees that put jobs and training opportunities for British Columbians first.

As I said, we need to be guaranteed a fair return for our resources. However, we now see those benefits being cut in half. In the North Coast nearly half of the population that I represent is aboriginal. It’s paramount that First Nations are being respected, made partners in LNG, and their rights to a share of the benefits must be recognized. There must be protection of our air, our land and our water, including living up to our climate change commitments. As I said, Bill 2 clearly does not meet this test, and I will outline why.

Bill 2 shows the Premier as breaking her promise to have the cleanest LNG in the world by failing to address upstream emissions that represent 70 percent of the emissions LNG production creates. Not acknowledging this is negligent.

I parallel this to the way the National Energy Board terms of reference for the Enbridge northern gateway pipeline project were examined. That process did not look at the Alberta tar sands. It only looked at what the pipeline impacts would be. Yet tar sands development would need to be created, and industry would need to be stimulated in order to produce enough bitumen to put in that pipeline. All they wanted to examine was the impacts of the pipeline.

Again, that’s not realistic. According to the Pembina Institute, upstream emissions account for approximately 70 percent of GHG emissions in the LNG life cycle, and they’re not covered by this legislation. The legislation also provides LNG proponents with the flexibility to meet that benchmark. If proponents cannot reduce their GHG emissions to the 0.16 carbon dioxide equivalent per tonne of LNG produced, they can either (1) invest in B.C.-based offset at market prices or (2) contribute to a technology fund at a rate of $25 per tonne. Therefore, this legislation does not actually require LNG operators to reduce their GHG emissions.

The government press release accompanying the legislation includes a backgrounder on the LNG environmental incentive program, which provides further subsidies to the industry and proposes a market system for tradeable performance credits for facilities that perform below the 0.16.

The release states: “Facilities that have achieved annual performance below the 0.23 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent per tonne of LNG produced are eligible to participate in the LNG environmental incentive program. Performance below 0.23 and above 0.16 will receive a prorated incentive based on their actual compliance costs. Performance below 0.16 will earn the facility a performance credit that can be sold to other LNG facilities.” However, no further details are provided. How big will this subsidy be? How will the performance-credit market be regulated?

The LNG legislation is short on details, and approximately 25 percent of the bill allows government to change various regulations at a later date with the stroke of a pen through cabinet regulation. Furthermore, the only part of the legislation that sets or even mentions the 0.16 GHG intensity level is the schedule at the end of the bill. This schedule can be changed and/or added to or subtracted from at any moment. LNG could even be exempt entirely from the legislation if the government chose to do so. How is this serving our people?

I would just like to read into the record a quote from Clean Energy Canada, and then I will wrap up. There are a couple other speakers, and we are coming to the conclusion of the debate on this bill. But I could go on forever.

In a statement Clean Energy Canada said:

“It’s a good start, but on its own it won’t result in the cleanest LNG in the world. LNG production releases carbon pollution all the way down the chain of production, from wellhead to waterline. Today’s legislation only addresses the last link in that chain — the port facilities where companies would chill the gas to load it aboard ships. It also allows companies to buy credits rather than actually build cleaner terminals.

“It will take continued and strengthened leadership from both government and the industry before government can credibly tout the cleanest LNG in the world, and even if B.C. does ensure that this industry is built to world-leading standards, it would still sharply increase the province’s greenhouse gas emissions.”

Hon. Speaker, this is why I cannot support this bill. I will not be voting in favour of Bill 2.”