No More “Mega Bombs”
- December 10, 2023
With COP28 coming to a close on Tuesday, it’s time to turn our focus back to our own nation. And as Bill McKibben has been arguing for months, the single biggest threat to U.S. climateprogress can be summed up in three letters: LNG.
A decade ago, the U.S. exported hardly any gas overseas. Now, we are the world’s largest exporter of liquified “natural” gas (LNG), with exports doubling in the last four years. Despite its misleading name, LNG is mostly methane, a greenhouse gas more than 80 times as potent as CO2 over 20 years. According to a recent Cornell study, LNG leaks so profusely at every stage of its life cycle that on the whole, it is worse for the climate than burning coal.
The last thing we need, then, is more LNG infrastructure. And yet, two new massive LNG facilities are slated for construction along Louisiana’s Gulf coast: the Commonwealth LNG terminal and the CP2 LNG terminal.
CP2 would be the largest LNG export facility ever built, creating over 190 million tons of emissions annually. That’s equivalent to 42 million gas-powered cars, 51 coal-fired power plants, or 20 Willow projects.
Jeremy Symons, a former EPA official under Obama, didn’t mince words. “This is a carbon mega bomb,” he said. “The scale of the project is almost unfathomable and it locks us into a fossil fuel dependency for the next 30 years. If all we do is shift from coal to gas, we are cooked.”
The construction of these destructive facilities is not inevitable, however. In order to sell LNG overseas, the terminals must receive export permits from the Department of Energy. The DOE is supposed to issue these permits only for projects it determines are in the “public interest.”
“Carbon mega bombs” are the opposite of the public interest.
On November 30, climate and environmental justice campaigners marched to the Department of Energy in Washington, DC and delivered a petition with more than 200,000 signatures calling the agency to reject the export permits. Louisianan activist Roishette Ozane gave powerful testimony:
“CP2, the liquefied natural gas project that is proposed to come right in my backyard, where me and my children live, would be the most harmful facility built in the United States,” she declared. ”We are already overburdened and overflowing with fossil fuels. We don’t need any more.”
We most certainly don’t.