Liquefied natural gas (LNG) is natural gas that has been cooled to a liquid state, so that it’s easier to store and transport. It’s mostly made up of methane, which is a greenhouse gas (GHG) far more potent than carbon dioxide (CO2).

While methane has a much shorter atmospheric lifetime than CO2, over the course of a 20-year period, methane has a global warming potential 84-86 times that of CO2. [1] Stretched out across a hundred years, methane is still an alarming 28-34 times more potent than CO2.

So how can LNG, a fuel with such global heating capacity, be sold as a ‘green’ alternative? The answer: by misleading the public.

Maybe you’ve spotted the barrage of bus ads around Vancouver, extolling the virtues of LNG. Bright green and selling bold and unsupported claims, these ads were a blatant case of greenwashing. In fact, Ad Standards Canada — the organization responsible for making sure that advertising in Canada is truthful, fair and accurate — recently made a leaked interim ruling that billboards claiming “B.C. LNG will reduce global emissions” violate the Canadian Code of Advertising Standards. This interim ruling has been appealed.

A bus with an ad declaring 'B.C. LNG will reduce global emissions'
“B.C. LNG will reduce global emissions.”

Such is the power of language that there’s an argument to be made against calling it ‘natural gas’ at all, when it is fracked in Northern B.C. in a way that’s anything but natural. Natural gas is a marketing term from the fossil fuel industry. Research shows that “more than half of participants had a positive view of natural gas, but the advantage shrank immediately when you called it ‘natural methane gas’ or ‘methane gas,’ as well as for ‘fossil gas’ and ‘fracked gas.'” [2]

Does Canada produce LNG?

At the time of writing, there are six LNG export projects that are proposed or under construction:

  • LNG Canada Phases 1 and 2
  • Woodfibre LNG
  • Ksi Lisims LNG
  • Tilbury LNG Phase 2 and its Export Jetty
  • Cedar LNG
  • Summit Lake PG LNG

These projects need to be supplied by pipelines like Coastal Gaslink and the Prince Rupert Gas Transmission pipeline, which have their own impacts on Indigenous rights and title, local communities, biodiversity and climate.

According to the Government of Canada’s website:

All of the export projects are in British Columbia. Additionally, there are four LNG liquefaction facilities, and two LNG import facilities, operating in Canada that serve the domestic market.” [3]

Most of these LNG export projects expect to start operating between 2025 and 2030, when Canada and B.C.’s emissions must significantly drop to meet climate targets. Yet July 2024 saw the federal approval of Tilbury LNG jetty in Delta, B.C. which puts both the B.C. and federal governments’ climate commitments ever further out of reach.

“Fossil fuel expansion is categorically incompatible with keeping temperatures from rising above 1.5 degrees,” says Ecojustice lawyer Imalka Nilmalgoda, “and this project will lock us into further fossil fuel use at the exact moment we should be transitioning away from them.”

Is LNG better than gas?

Industry likes to say that LNG is ‘cleaner’ than coal and oil, but new research shows that LNG can have an even bigger climate footprint than burning coal. [4] And despite common industry claims that LNG can replace coal in Asia and reduce emissions, the fossil fuel companies have been unable to prove that LNG is actually replacing coal — and not just competing with solar and wind energy.

LNG is by no means a ‘green’ energy source. To reach net-zero emissions by 2050 globally, no more new LNG export capacity is required.

Let’s be clear: LNG is a fossil fuel. Burning fossil fuels causes global heating and climate chaos.

But before it even reaches the burning stage, the process of fracking fossil gas to create LNG is a danger to public health. Fracking destroys the environment, pumping toxic chemicals into the earth and causing earthquakes. It also requires millions of litres of freshwater at a time when people across British Columbia are experiencing drought and water restrictions. [5]

What is the biggest LNG project in Canada?

Led by the multinational oil and gas company Shell, LNG Canada in Kitimat, B.C., will be Canada’s first large-scale LNG export facility once complete. In a remarkable feat of cognitive dissonance, the project is aiming for first exports by 2025 — just two years after B.C.’s worst-ever wildfire season and four years after the heat dome which killed 619 people.

Yes, against that backdrop, B.C. has approved more LNG projects including LNG Canada Phase 2, Cedar LNG, and the Tilbury LNG Export Jetty. Even more projects are under consideration.

For context, the emissions from the approved and under-construction LNG Canada Phase 1, Woodfibre LNG, and existing oil and gas production are already nearly double B.C.’s oil and gas emissions target for 2030.

Fracking, processing, transporting, and burning LNG will directly contribute to climate breakdown, and extreme weather such as 2023’s historic wildfires and the 2021 heat dome.

It doesn’t even make economic sense. As the International Institute for Sustainable Development warns, “Canadian LNG assets may become stranded.” [6] That means by the time the Canadian LNG facilities are up and running, the global LNG supply is expected to have outstripped demand, ultimately driving down prices. And who bears that risk? You do, as a taxpayer.

That’s why Ecojustice is demanding better from our leaders. Together, we can urge governments to stop approving fossil fuel projects like the Tilbury LNG Jetty, and to cap oil and gas emissions.


[1] The Challenge — United Nations Economic Commission for Europe

[2] The end of natural gas has to start with its name — Vox

[3] Canadian liquified natural gas projects — Government of Canada

[4] New study shows liquefied natural gas might be worse for climate change than coal — NBC Bay Area

[5] Fracking With Fresh Water In A Time of Severe Drought —

[6] Why Liquefied Natural Gas Expansion in Canada Is Not Worth the Risk — International Institute for Sustainable Development