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LETTER: Natural gas subsidies impede fight on climate change

Your editorial of Nov. 24 was very timely and covered some of the measures that will be needed to mitigate the effects of the inevitable future climate disasters. Unfortunately, you neglected to mention the only measure that stands some chance of eventually limiting the increasing frequency and destructiveness of such events. The latest IPCC report, plus numerous presentations at the recent COP26, make it clear that, on a planetary basis, we need to start serious reductions in our greenhouse gas emissions before 2030.

We in Canada have a very high carbon footprint per capita compared with the rest of the world, so it is incumbent on us to do our fair share. Both individual and governmental actions are required, and I was happy to see that Saanich is offering an online climate action series for individuals in the latest Recreation Guide.

As a province, a large and increasing portion of our emissions come from so-called natural gas. The production of LNG is anything but natural, requiring the use of chemicals and large quantities of groundwater which becomes irreversibly contaminated. The fugitive emissions during production are 80 times more potent as a greenhouse gas than CO2, and if taken into account make LNG more damaging than other fossil fuels like coal and oil.

As taxpayers of B.C., we are actually subsidizing this industry through the very outdated and complex royalty system. The provincial government has recognized the need for reform and has launched a consultation process. This gives us a chance to ask for a system which will require industry to share their profits more fairly, including with First Nations whose territories have been severely impacted. We might also ask to structure the royalties to encourage the necessary phasing out of the whole industry in the coming decades.

There is a questionnaire for an online response at https://feedback.engage.gov.bc.ca/187266?lang=en but I would recommend checking with environmental groups such as Dogwood, Wilderness Committee, or Stand.Earth for additional background before completing.

Judy Gaylord

Saanich