BC's dirty climate secret

“We can fool ourselves, but we can’t fool the atmosphere.”  Sierra Club BC Science Advisor Dr. Colin Campbell. 

The claim that our BC Government is pursuing a lower-carbon economy is challenged by revelations in a pair of new reports.

The first report, "Emissions Impossible?" by Sierra Club of BC, points to nearly four times more carbon in our economy than the BC government lists on its carbon books.

The BC government only focuses on reducing carbon that is burned inside BC. Examples of carbon kept off the books include all of BC's coal, most of BC's methane (natural gas) and emissions from BC’s forests primarily due to poor forest management and climate impacts.

Not only is the majority of carbon in our economy left "off the books" it is also left out of our low-carbon policies. The result, as the Sierra BC report highlights, is that our Clark government is acting to more than double our economy's "off the books" carbon.

For example, our Premier Christy Clark says she is "focused single-mindedly" on a gigantic increase in BC methane extraction. She brags that it will be "equivalent of two million barrels of oil a day. That is roughly the current level of production of [Alberta's] entire oil sands." Whoa. Opening a fossil fuel spigot into our climate the size of the tar sands doesn't sound low-carbon to me.

And it isn't.

A second new report, "BC’s Legislated Greenhouse Gas Targets vs Natural Gas Development" from Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA), calculates that this single-minded rush to frack will create methane emissions as high as 305 million tonnes of CO2 (MtCO2) per year by 2020.

That is twenty times the climate pollution caused by all the cars and trucks in BC today. It would be seven times our entire province's target for 2020.

"Clearly, such emissions are not consistent with the spirit of BC’s GHG targets," says the CCPA report.

Oh, and then there are 18 new coal mines being planned as well. The first eight of these are projected to add an additional 34 MtCO2 to our atmosphere each year. We are piling on new coal mines so fast we have to bring in Chinese workers to mine them.

When you include all this hidden carbon, our economy is actually growing far dirtier, more carbon-dependent and more exposed to carbon risks.

BC Minister of Environment Terry Lake recently defended his government's decisions to ignore most of our economy's carbon saying that the government uses "international standards for emissions accounting."

However useful those international standards may be for international treaties—a very open question at this point—they are not designed to reveal all the carbon risks facing British Columbians. And they do not. They ignore large risks to things British Columbians cherish and depend upon—our economy, food supply, oceans, forests, infrastructure, salmon, hydro, healthy ecosystems and a stable weather system.

We know that accounting standards that hide risk create bubbles. This didn't work out for investors in Enron, dot-coms or sub-prime mortgages, to name a few. It is starting to fail big time for USA coal companies who are suddenly fighting for economic survival. It could fail just as spectacularly for a BC economy gorging itself on hidden carbon risk.

More in Climate Snapshot

"Carbon tsunami" lead by Enbridge Northern Gateway takes aim at BC

A flood of mega-carbon projects threaten to quickly turn British Columbia into one of the world's dirtiest economies.

Car Carbon series: cool new animation, plus the jaw-dropping impact it left out

What weighs sixteen billion pounds yet hides in plain sight?
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I suspect there are more dirty secrets

The solution to climate change

The primary source of GHG is fossil fuel burning electrical generating facilities.http://dingo.care2.com/pictures/causes/uploads/2012/01/GHG-emitters-2010.jpg 
7 Billion humans generate vast quantities of excrement. I believe this excrement is capable of providing all human electrical demands.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radiolysis 
Right now hydrogen is perceived as a negative by product, of Nuclear Energy, when it should be the product, as the Pentagon has considered. reference info Request for Information (RFI) on Deployable Reactor Technologies ... [email protected]
Large scale conversions sites are intended to replace fossil fuel powered electrical facilities the Primary Source of Carbon Emissions.
In what officials now say was a mistaken strategy to reduce the waste's volume, organic chemicals were added years ago which were being bombarded by radiation fields, resulting in unwanted hydrogen. The hydrogen was then emitted in huge releases that official studies call burps, causing "waste-bergs," chunks of waste floating on the surface, to roll over.

Dennis Baker
106-998 Creston Avenue
Penticton BC V2A1P9
cell phone 250-462-3796 
Phone / Fax 778-476-2633

So if BC is supposed to

So if BC is supposed to calculate the CO2 pumped out by use of it's product outside it's borders, are you gong to be as scrupulous in DEDUCTING the equivalent amount from the CO2 output of those destination buyers? I don't believe that for a second. So essentially, you would have the CO2 calculated twice, 'magically' doubling the output. That aside, 1; it is OIL sands, not tar. You dojn't refine TAR to get oil. 2; It has been warmer multiple times in the past then it is now. Somehow humanity and the rest of the world is still here. 3; Climate always has and always will change. 4; Who was it that declared that climate was supposed to STOP changing just for our convenience in this post mini ice age era (makes for a convenient 'hockey stick' graph using temps from that as a start point don't it)? Medieval Warm Period, with similar warm periods in the Roman and Greek eras, with cities having to be abandoned when they also when through cold eras. Yet for some reason the warm/cold cycle is supposed to end to satisfy our demands for it to.


All this Co will save us from the coming ice age!!