New LNG developments lock in fossil fuels and threaten fisheries, human health, ecosystems, and the global climate 

Published

Sacramento, USA — New maps from research organization Earth Insight  — released ahead of World Oceans Day on June 8, 2024 — paint a sobering picture of current plans to expand Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) infrastructure worldwide, posing threats to the global climate as well as significant hubs for biodiversity. 

LNG is mostly composed of methane gas. If cooled, the gas becomes liquid and can be stored and transported by sea using special tankers. When methane is burned to obtain energy, it produces less carbon dioxide than other fossil fuels, such as oil or gas. However, methane itself is in itself a potent greenhouse gas, responsible for almost a third of all global warming we are experiencing today.

The report is co-authored by Say No to LNG, CEED Philippines, Friends of the Earth Mozambique / Justiça Ambiental!, the Port Arthur Community Action Network (PACAN), Defensa Ambiental del Noroeste (DAN) Mexico, and ARAYARA Brazil. Case studies and regional maps in the report show:

  • In the United States, developments along the Gulf Coast will disproportionately impact communities of color in some of the poorer states of the country. These communities already experience poor air quality from operating LNG facilities and regularly suffer downpours and floods caused by climate change-fueled hurricanes and storms;
  • In Mexico’s Baja California state, new LNG infrastructure threatens “the world’s aquarium,” home to 40% of all marine mammals and many endangered species. If current plans go ahead, eight new terminals will be built in a region that is a whale sanctuary and is listed as a UNESCO World heritage site;
  • In the Philippines, building new LNG terminals will add more pressure to the Verde Island Passage, one of the world’s most biodiverse marine places The region, often called “the Amazon of the Oceans,” is already one of the world’s busiest marine routes and was hit by an oil spill in 2023 with devastating consequences;
  • In Mozambique and East Africa, gas developments have already caused the forced displacement of local communities and new plans threaten several critically endangered marine species. The offshore expansion will take place along a coastline full of mangroves and coral reefs;
  • and, in Brazil, there are plans to build new LNG terminals along the Atlantic coast, a region that is already cluttered with oil and gas infrastructure. Whale populations will be particularly affected, as the new developments overlap with their breeding grounds and migration routes.

QUOTES:

Tyson Miller, Executive Director, Earth Insight: “Investing in LNG infrastructure — especially in some of the world’s most important nurseries of marine life — just doesn’t make any sense. At this point in the energy transition and nature crisis, it’s a one way ticket to stranded assets and won’t help us solve the climate crisis.”
 

Gerry Arances, Executive Director of the Center for Energy, Ecology, and Development (CEED) and Co-Convenor of Protect Verde Island Passage: LNG expansion is a major threat for the climate, biodiversity, and communities. In the Philippines, a buildout of LNG terminals and power plants threatens the Verde Island Passage – one of the most biodiverse marine ecosystems in the world. For a country that has so much renewable energy it could instead be developing, LNG is an unnecessary and detrimental distraction that only exacerbates our climate vulnerabilities. We need to be advancing real climate solutions and biodiversity protection, and not locking in more fossil fuel expansion.

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