David Suzuki is taking aim at B.C. Premier Christy Clark's claim that developing a liquid natural gas industry in B.C. will help slow climate change, arguing it's time Clark "be serious about where we're heading" with our reliance on fossil fuels.
The outspoken environmentalist made the remarks as Premier Christy Clark tours parts of Asia to drum up interest and investment in her government's LNG plans. Clark has said B.C. should sell natural gas in China and Japan because natural gas is cleaner than China's coal and safer than Japan's nuclear power.
Earlier this month Clark called B.C. proposed liquefied natural-gas plants worldwide pollution-fighting machines, despite concerns by climate scientists and environmental groups that they will belch millions of tonnes of harmful greenhouse gas emissions into the sky.
"We are doing the world a favour," she said.
But Suzuki disputes Clark's take on LNG and its purported benefits.
“This is just a rationalization on our part," says Suzuki.
"Our fracked gas is not a simple transition fuel. You have to add the amount of water it takes to get that stuff out of the ground – massive amounts of water laced with toxic chemicals being pumped under ground. Then, in order to compress that gas, we have to use an enormous amount of energy to make it into a liquid. That all produces carbon in the atmosphere.”
Suzuki says efforts to dramatically expand the LNG industry in B.C. ignore targets on climate change, and he has a pointed message for the premier.
"Be serious about where we're heading and take the commitment made at Copenhagen, by Canada and the other countries, to set our target at two degrees, and then calculate what that means we can dig out of the ground and use. We're not doing that."
“The economy can’t trump the environment," Suzuki adds. "I keep telling people: How long can you go without spending a dollar? And then how long can you go without taking a breath?”