Executives from the world’s largest gas companies are meeting in British Columbia this week for a conference marketing Canada’s liquefied natural gas industry as providing “low-carbon” energy solutions to the world.
But dozens of climate protesters who showed up outside the Vancouver Convention Centre Tuesday morning delivered a much different message to the suit-wearing delegates of LNG2023, a global gathering of gas industry leaders held annually for more than 50 years.
“Clean gas is a dirty lie,” said Alexandra Woodsworth, a campaigner with the B.C. environmental group Dogwood. “We are here to hold the world’s richest companies, the world’s richest executives, responsible for the growing death toll from climate change.”
That’s not the story that delegates were hearing inside LNG2023, an event whose organizers are touting Canada’s rapidly growing gas industry as an example of “Indigenous leadership” and “sustainable” innovation.
“We can help both established and emerging economies in transitioning from coal to low emission LNG,” Shannon Joseph, chair of an industry group called Energy for a Secure Future, said in the lead-up to the event.
Conference organizers were on high alert for anyone who might question that narrative. They decided “to refuse the registration application” for DeSmog to cover the event. That decision came after multiple DeSmog investigations revealing quiet oil and gas industry funding to First Nations organizations fighting climate restrictions on LNG development, as well as gas industry leaders’ prior ties to climate denial groups.
LNG2023 organizers also barred Gas Outlook reporter and DeSmog contributor Nick Cunningham from attending.
As protesters lay down on the pavement in front of the Convention Centre as part of a “die-in” meant to criticize the gas industry’s pollution, several passing tourists stopped to take a selfie, while a group of conference attendees watched from a distance.
“Big polluters shouldn’t come to our city without us turning up and telling them to get lost,” Peter McCartney, a climate campaigner with an environmental organization called the Wilderness Committee, said into a megaphone.