The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its Fifth Assessment Report on September 30, 2013. The science behind the relationship between industrial activity and climate change is now well beyond dispute, and the latest findings of the Panel are sobering. US Secretary of State, John Kerry, responded:
"This is yet another wakeup call: Those who deny the science or choose excuses over action are playing with fire …. the response must be all hands on deck. It’s not about one country making a demand of another. It’s the science itself, demanding action from all of us."
One of the Report's findings should rewrite how the impacts of the natural gas industry are assessed from here on. Methane, which is the key element in natural gas, was formerly thought to have a coefficient that made it 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas. The IPCC now states that the coefficient of methane is 34 times greater than carbon dioxide over a 100-year timeframe. Read a synopsis, here. The argument that industrial-scale use of natural gas to replace coal had an advantage for the climate was previously tenuous at best. Now, it has been blown out of the water. It is now OK to say outright that natural gas, due to the many leaks along its production path and the tremendous amount that would be burned at gas-powered LNG plants, is dirtier than coal.
What is not OK is for Premier Christy Clark and Prime Minister Stephen Harper to ignore the science and continue headlong down the tunnel into a methane fuelled, new climatic order. Snow in Egypt might be just the beginning.