In a decision that could have consequences nationwide, a Quebec-based liquefied natural gas (LNG) project is on the ropes after Quebec’s environmental assessment agency met The social and environmental cost of the project outweighs its benefits. The GNL Quebec (GNLQ) project will include a 780 km gas pipeline (built by Gazoduc) and a plant that turns gas into liquid (built by Energie Saguenay) and an export terminal for LNG supertankers.
A disastrous report for LNG projects across the country
Quebec’s Office of Public Hearing on the Environment (known as BAPE) is the independent body responsible for conducting environmental assessments of projects in Quebec. On March 24, it published a disastrous report good For GNLQ which found that the project would increase global GHGs, hinder the transition to renewable energy and present new risks to the already endangered St. Lawrence belugas.
These findings will be cited in any future review of LNG projects in Canada. Here are excerpts from the over 500 page BAPE report:
- Globally, the GNLQ “will result in a net increase in greenhouse gas emissions” (p. 327).
- GNLQ’s GHG emissions would be “approximately 45.5 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent per year” (p.304), which is equivalent to the pollution of more than 10 million vehicles on roads for at least 25 years.
- “There is no guarantee or way to ensure that liquefied natural gas produced by the liquefaction complex will serve effectively as a substitute for more polluting fuels in targeted export markets” (p. 321).
- “The establishment of new LNG export infrastructure could act as a brake on the energy transition to the markets targeted by the project” (p. 4)
- The GNLQ “will constitute an outlet for the production of Canadian natural gas, and consequently increase production in Canada, thus contributing to the greenhouse gas emissions resulting from this activity”. (p.310)
- The GNLQ will “contribute to the maintenance or development of the oil and gas sector in Western Canada when it is necessary, according to the International Energy Agency, to allow large amounts of hydrocarbon reserves to remain unutilized to achieve the central objective of the Paris Agreement.” p.119)
- The “400 LNG carrier transit” on the GNLQ Saguenay and “which, due to the precarious situation and the current “endangered” status of the beluga population in the St. Lawrence estuary, will add to any additional stress posed by increased maritime traffic to its recovery and survival. should be considered as a non-negligible risk.” (p.10)
The Quebec government must now reject the project
The review of BAPE is now in the hands of the provincial government, which will have to take the final call on whether it can go ahead. According to the BAPE report, the GNLQ does not meet any of the three essential conditions set by the Quebec government: that it must contribute to the energy transition, achieve social acceptance and reduce global greenhouse gas emissions.
Days after the publication of the BAPE report, 60 groups representing citizens, environmentalists, communities, unions, health experts and student unions, as well as three opposition parties in Quebec, jointly called on the Legault government to immediately reject the project. asked for
The BAPE report and very strong public protests provide the Quebec government with all the information it needs to immediately reject the project, which would undermine the climate goals of Quebec and Canada and worsen the global climate crisis. The groups urged the government not to meet behind closed doors with project sponsors, but to finalize the government’s assessment now and turn the page on this bad project.
Quebec does not have and never will have social acceptance for LNG
Quebec’s environmental review process places great emphasis on whether a project has “social acceptability” (i.e. public support). The lack of social acceptance for the GNLQ project was evident in a new Lager poll (conducted from March 19 to 21), which showed that 52% of Quebecers are against the project while only 27% are in favor. So there are almost twice as many Quebecers who oppose the project than those who are in favour. This represents a sharp increase over the past four months, indicating that the more people hear about the project, the more they oppose it.
Now all opposition parties in the Quebec National Assembly, which represent 58% of the electorate, are saying no to the GNL Quebec. This is in addition to over 121,000 anti-LNG petition signers and record participation in the GNLQ BAPE hearings. Of the more than 2,500 briefs presented for hearing, 91% were opposed because of a combination of social, environmental and economic concerns.
Finally, environmental and civic groups revealed that if the Legault government authorized the GNLQ project, Hydro-Québec customers would see their bills increase by about $10 billion in the first 25 years of the project. This translates to a province-wide increase in electricity rates of 2.5% by 2030.
Obviously, Quebecers do not want to know anything about this project. The Legault government has until the end of the summer to approve or reject the project. Tell the Prime Minister that he has no choice but to reject the GNLQ project.
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