From a plane landing in Vancouver, the city shimmers below. Skyscrapers sheathed in glass reflect water that lies on three sides of downtown. Forested mountains serve as a backdrop that has made it easy for politicians to brand Vancouver the world’s “greenest city.”
There is more to that reputation than just PR. Vancouver’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are among the lowest of any urban center in North America. The city council has made bicycling infrastructure a priority. And in 2008, the government of British Columbia enacted a relatively steep carbon tax that has earned international praise for lowering the province’s per capita consumption of fossil fuels to well below Canada’s average.
Making B.C. look even cleaner by comparison is its dirty neighbor. Right next door in Alberta are the Athabasca oil sands, a development vilified around the world as one of the most environmentally destructive industrial projects in human history.
But Canada’s westernmost province might not stay so green. Its premier, Christy Clark, has begun a push to make B.C. a world leader in the production of liquefied natural gas (LNG).
Her government’s plans are so ambitious that a number of studies predict that B.C.’s LNG emissions could nearly equal those of Alberta’s oil sands by as early as 2020.
TVNL Comment: Oh, Canada! What a comedown. Nowhere left to run, now.