Shale gas development could thwart B.C. emissions reduction targets, report says

The production of natural gas from shale could single-handedly derail the B.C. government’s plans to reduce the province’s greenhouse-gas emissions, according to a new report.

Shale Gas and Climate Targets: Can They Be Reconciled?—prepared by Simon Fraser University professor Mark Jaccard and researcher Brad Griffin for the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions—notes the provincial government has committed to cutting emissions by 33 percent by 2020 and 80 percent by 2050, relative to their level in 2007.

“While pursuing these GHG emission targets, the government continues to promote the exploitation of highly valuable provincial natural gas resources in spite of the challenges this strategy creates for its GHG objectives,” the report, which was released today (July 27), states.

According to the report, unconventional methods such as horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing are required to extract gas from shale.

Although the development of shale gas in the northeast could become a “major economic driver” for B.C., the fossil fuel has the potential to be a “very large source” of emissions, the report says.

Still, it notes the prospects for carbon capture and storage are “quite favourable” in the shale-gas industry.

“In the case of B.C.’s current target for 2020, the potential development of shale gas makes it likely that this province will sustain the Canadian tradition of failing to meet GHG emissions reduction targets,” the report states. “If, however, the government is serious about achieving its target, then our analysis suggests that it needs to either ban shale gas development in B.C. or only allow such development if it includes CCS to prevent CO2 venting. Even in this latter case, it is likely to be difficult to achieve B.C.’s GHG emissions reduction targets.”

The report says shale-gas development could put the province 10 percent over its legislated emissions target for 2020.

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Carbon Tax

Jul 27, 2010 at 10:07pm

Can i get my Carbon Tax back since the government didn't manage right?


Jul 27, 2010 at 11:37pm

Perhaps Professor Jaccard can explain how the BC Liberal Carbon tax, a retail sales tax which he designed, can affect the economic incentives involved in any primary fossil fuel extraction, be it coal, oil, or natural gas of any kind.

Earlier this month Prof Jaccard stated in an interview withThe Straight that this policy was working here in BC.

However, on June 26th he told a seminar on global issues that he was coming increasingly to the "dismal conclusion that humans lack the cognitive ability to deal with the climate risk before it causes great harm to our planet."

Rod Smelser


Jul 28, 2010 at 7:56am

At this point in this governments term they could care less about emissions. They need to do the bidding of their employers, the business elites and the bilderberg group. That's why Gordo went to Spain, to get his new directives from the elite. The LIbERalS know they are finished so to hell with it. They know they are on the slippery slope to defeat so sit back, screw everybody and enjoy the ride.

skeena fisherman

Jul 28, 2010 at 9:14am

This government is not interested in reducing GHG, it is just using that as an excuse to raise taxes.

Fron Fort St. John

Jul 28, 2010 at 2:40pm

Former BC Energy Minister, Richard Neufeld, did a presentation to the Fort St. John City Council in February warning them that they should "get on the train" about Site C and that over 50% of the electricity generated from the proposed Site C dam was slated to go north to the Horn River Basin to power the oil & gas industry's shale gas plays. At the same time, the industry magazine, The Oil and Gas Enquirer, was reporting plans to send Horn River natural gas to the Alberta Tar Sands to use in the oil extraction process. Then Enbridge wants to ship that oil to the Asia via the Gateway pipeline to the West Coast. And Gordon Campbell and his crew have the nerve to say that Site C is a "Clean Energy Project." Site C is a massive British Columbian taxpayer/ratepayer subsidy of the international oil & gas industry, that will come at great financial and ecological cost to our children and grandchildren.

commenter a.

Jul 30, 2010 at 3:53pm

You do get the carbon tax back... have you looked at how it is designed? you pay less in other taxes, so perhaps your comment is misguided.