BC’ers taking a pragmatic view to natural gas development – and are concerned about imports

Survey finds British Columbians are concerned about importing oil and gas from countries with lower environmental & social standards.

A survey of British Columbians’ views on natural gas development has found the majority are interested in responsible growth of the industry or a cautious approach with oversight. Only 7 per cent of those polled want no new natural gas production at all.  

When asked about the consequences of climate and energy policy, two-thirds of respondents said they are concerned about importing oil and natural gas from countries with lower environmental and social standards, such as Russia. The poll was conducted Feb. 8–15, 2022 by Ipsos on behalf of Resource Works, before Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine and Ottawa’s Feb. 28 ban of oil and gas imported from Russia. (Link to poll)

“Our poll finds British Columbians have a practical view of natural gas development. Reading through the data, it is clear we are interested in a responsible approach that protects the environment while recognizing the reality that we rely on natural gas in our daily lives and are better served by producing the fuel here rather than importing it,” says Stewart Muir, Resource Works’ executive director.

“Only seven per cent of us want no new natural gas production at all, while at the other extreme just 12 per cent feel the industry should be allowed to grow with no conditions added. The majority in the middle say the industry should be allowed to grow with action to reduce environmental impacts, or be approached with caution and government oversight.” 

When asked how they feel the province’s natural gas industry is doing, 67 per cent of British Columbians agreed it is contributing to the economy and creating jobs, more than half that it is helping fund important social programs, healthcare, and education. About half of respondents agree the industry is working to reduce its environmental impact and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

This question was also put to respondents: Some countries in Europe like the UK have recently experienced energy shortages, increased prices and the need to purchase energy from countries such as Russia. How concerned are you that a consequence of climate and energy policies might be that Canadians face the following?

In response, 77 per cent expressed concern about increases to their home heating bill, and 64 per cent concern about importing oil and gas from countries that don’t have high environmental or social standards.

“British Columbians should rest assured that Canada has some of the highest environmental standards in the world for oil and gas production,” Muir says. “Of course, we should always strive to do even better on the environmental front domestically. Today’s world events highlight further the importance of being self-reliant when it comes to energy development, and not depending on foreign powers.”

The European Union recently decided to classify natural gas as a sustainable green fuel in certain circumstances. The way is clear for Canada to accelerate efforts to provide its cleaner fuel solutions to nations struggling to meet their international climate commitments.

“Canada is on track to become the world’s first net-zero emissions country, an advantage that we can and must share with others through low-emissions technologies and exports,” said Muir.


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