Mary Polak promotes B.C. LNG at Lima Climate Change Conference
B.C. Environment Minister says liquefied natural gas plays a role in reducing fossil fuel use
B.C. Environment Minister Mary Polak is promoting the province's plans for liquefied natural gas — or LNG — at an international conference on climate change.
World leaders, scientists and environmentalists are in Lima, Peru this week for the United Nation's Conference of the Parties on Climate Change.
"Natural gas can be an important transition fuel as we work with less developed countries for that transition away from fossil fuels," Polak told The Early Edition's Rick Cluff.
"In that context, British Columbia's cleanest LNG becomes very important as we fight climate change globally."
A report released earlier this year by the Pembina Institute disputed the claim that LNG produced in B.C. would cut the use of coal and oil worldwide.
Polak admitted the production of LNG alone won't lead to a decrease in other fossil fuels.
"One of the reasons these negotiations are so important is that countries like Canada, France and others who are further down the road are able to address the gap that exists for countries that don't have the resources that we do," she said.
Polak maintained once it is up and running B.C.'s LNG industry will be the cleanest in the world, through incentives for companies that meet the benchmarks for greenhouse gas emissions.
LNG strategy 'irresponsible'
B.C. Green MLA Andrew Weaver called the government's LNG plans irresponsible.
"The government has no vision in terms of where it's heading apart from LNG and it's trying to wrap everything around it and convince people that somehow they're solving all the world's problems, including their environmental problems through a hypothetical industry with no back-up plan," he told The Early Edition.
Polak said LNG is not the only industry the government is focusing on, but said establishing an industry is a priority.
She said in creating a framework for LNG, the government has a number of factors to take into account.
"We as government have to look beyond the simple equation of not producing more emissions, and like other countries we have to be sure that we're balancing that against not only our economic interests, but what we can do on the world stage," she said.
"We have to be part of the global conversation, not just a British Columbia-centric one."
Earlier this week UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon told CBC News Canada has to be more "ambitious and visionary" when it comes to addressing climate change.