New LNG developments no solution to energy security, say environmentalists

Environmentalists say government regulators should take a pass on any liquefied natural gas proposals in Nova Scotia, and that efforts to expand alternative energy resources should be stepped up.

Calgary-based Pieridae Energy recently confirmed it is looking at pursuing a floating LNG terminal near the coast of Goldboro in Guysborough County. The move follows a decision by the company last summer to abandon plans for a land-based facility due to financing problems.

With gas prices on the rise, the company is now examining the smaller, cheaper idea of using a leased barge, which it says would produce lower emissions than the land-based project.

Gurprasad Gurumurthy, an energy co-ordinator with the Ecology Action Centre, said even if what the company is considering now is smaller than its original proposal, the environmental impacts remain a concern. That’s because the severity of the climate crisis has intensified in the years since the land-based project was assessed by regulators, he said.

“It’s a different set of strategies that we need to be thinking toward climate action,” he said.

‘A big swindle’

The company has said concerns about the project’s effect on Nova Scotia’s climate change targets and emission rates could be addressed through a proposed carbon capture-and-storage project it wants to launch in Alberta.

Robin Tress of the Council of Canadians called the company’s suggestion that its project could be net zero “a big swindle.”

“There are not very many carbon-capture projects in existence,” she said.

“None of them operate at the scale that Pieridae is suggesting that they could.”

In making the case for their proposal, officials with Pieridae have said it could create an alternative to Russian-sourced energy at a time when that country is waging war in Ukraine, and other European countries are looking to isolate and sanction Russia.

More gas not the answer

Gurumurthy said the pitch seems “opportunistic, and not in a good way.”

“It feels like it’s exploitation of the international geopolitics and the conditions that central Europe is in right now.”

With so much political power wrapped up in who has gas resources, Tress said it’s a further argument to “really rapidly invest in technologies and policies” that allow for a shift to alternative options.

“I think the answer is to move away from fossil fuels. This is not the first war that is related to resource control and it won’t be the last one.”

Both Gurumurthy and Tress said if the project comes before government regulators they should reject it, so as not to jeopardize the province’s climate targets for 2030 and 2050.

In an email, a spokesperson for Nova Scotia’s Environment Department said the amount of greenhouse gas emissions produced by any potential project would be a consideration as the government works to ensure it meets its climate change targets.

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