Letter to the editor: Coal calculations
Re B.C.’s Clark To Target Thermal Coal Regardless Of U.S. Softwood Outcome (May 4): Christy Clark’s attacks on thermal-coal exports through B.C. in the name of fighting climate change are hypocritical, given her support for exporting liquefied natural gas.
Yes, burning coal releases twice as much carbon dioxide as gas at the point of combustion. But scientists have shown that when gas is extracted through hydraulic fracturing (fracking), the total greenhouse emissions can be greater than those from coal.
This is due to leaks of methane, which is some 80 times more potent than CO2 over an initial 20-year period. The Suzuki Foundation reports that methane leakage in B.C. gas fields is 2.5 times greater than officially estimated. If Ms. Clark were genuinely interested in fighting climate change, she would immediately drop her plans for exporting fracked gas from the B.C. interior.
John Dillon, Toronto
Originally published in the Globe and Mail on May 5, 2017