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Talk of LNG as clean fuel alternative risks losing sight of climate goals: experts

Dusyk said renewable energy has the added advantage of not being a global commodity governed by market forces.

“It is no secret that Canada cannot reasonably export its abundant natural gas — and even if it were able to overcome the capacity challenges, it has,” she added. too late to meet current demand.

“High prices are clouding people’s view of the long-term economic outlook for natural gas,” Dusyk said in an interview.

“The global outlook for natural gas is going down, not up.”

The idea of ​​using natural gas as a temporary solution to the challenge of meeting today’s energy needs while reducing carbon emissions has gained traction in recent months.

Japan, the host of a global climate summit over the weekend, has been criticized for a proposed strategy that relies heavily on LNG, ammonia and other fossil fuel derivatives as a measure. emissions reduction.

The meeting of G7 environment and climate ministers in Sapporo is said to have pushed back Japan’s attempt to include LNG-friendly language in a draft statement, including a call for further investment. against the backdrop of growing demand.

And a recent report published by the Center for the Future of Business at the Canadian Chamber of Commerce suggested enhancing Canada’s ability to export LNG and promoting it as an alternative to coal-fired power globally. bridge.

“We’re in a very strange place right now,” Dusyk said, noting that global condemnation of Russia – a longtime essential source of energy for Europe – has caused a price rally. Gas is attractive but short-term.

“Europe is actively looking around the world” for alternatives, but “in the long term, they are not looking for LNG.”

Dusyk’s own research concluded that there is a “fundamental mismatch” between Canada’s capacity crisis and the immediate needs of Europe and other countries that once depended on Russia.

The institute has predicted that the European Union could completely break free of its dependence on Russian gas as early as 2025, which is too early for Canada to address its capacity challenges.

Canada may have abundant natural gas reserves, but lack the infrastructural capacity to export abroad, she said. She added that the liquefaction process also requires a lot of clean electricity to keep emissions low — electricity that would otherwise be available for other applications, such as charging electric vehicles.

“You can reduce emissions, but the essence of it is to use a lot of energy.”

At the same time, discussions around the risk of LNG distracting from the development of sustainable, renewable infrastructure systems are becoming more and more viable.

“The cost of renewable energy, whether it’s batteries, wind or solar, has plummeted…in many markets, renewables are the cheapest,” says Dusyk.

A Chamber of Commerce report published earlier this month suggests that the infrastructure needed to export Canadian LNG could eventually be transformed into a hydrogen delivery system, a prominent alternative. other for fossil fuels.

But Dusyk said she has yet to see any analysis that suggests such conversions would be possible.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on April 16, 2023.

James McCarten, Canadian Press


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