First Nations messages to China on LNG


Crystal Smith, elected chief councillor of the Haisla Nation and chair of our First Nations LNG Alliance, led off a presentation on LNG, and the First Nations Climate Initiative (FNCI), during the online Canada-China LNG Investment Forum hosted in May by the Canadian embassy in Beijing.

She was followed by Eva Clayton, president of the Nisga’a Nation; Alex Grzybowski, FNCI facilitator and advisor; and Karen Ogen-Toews, elected councillor of the Wet’suwet’en Nation and CEO of the First Nations LNG Alliance.

  • Chief Crystal on the benefits of LNG development: 

“From a Haisla perspective, we have been able to accomplish and alleviate, and start making change and impact, when it comes to our membership, with tangible, real results on the ground, through partnerships with the likes of LNG Canada and Coastal GasLink.

“We are seeing the impacts through our membership in the means of providing capacity and training and lifelong career development.

“As our nations work to create intergenerational prosperity, we want equity for major development projects that are located in our traditional territories. This is transformational for our communities and is becoming accepted by many companies as a means to advance resource development in Indigenous territories.

“And investors are seeing this as an opportunity, rather than a threat. Investment in environmentally and socially responsible development delivers on the ESG performance targets, environmental, social and corporate governance factors that their stakeholders expect.”

  • Chief Crystal on the First Nations Climate Initiative (FNCI):

“We see climate change as a global issue that requires actions that are relevant on a global scale, as well as here at home.

“The Lax Kw’alaams, Metlakatla, Nisga’a and Haisla initiated the FNCI because our communities are interested in LNG development as a means for alleviating poverty, and are concerned about the real signs of climate-change impacts in our territories.

“FNCI is working with governments . . . other First Nations and other non-governmental groups to develop climate-change policies that simultaneously reduce greenhouse gas emissions and strengthen First Nations’ economic self-determination.

“This includes the development of net-zero LNG as a transition fuel and the development of a low-carbon economy.

“China is the world’s largest importer of natural gas. With your goals to achieve net zero by 2060, and our ability to provide net-zero LNG, we see opportunity for partnership.

“We are playing a leadership role in climate-smart development in Canada, and we want to partner with countries like China, because helping you reduce your GHG emissions helps the world fight climate change.

“The more we replace LNG for the types of coal burned in China, with net-zero LNG produced in Canada, we think we can. And we want to partner with you to make this happen.”

  • President Clayton on the FNCI:

“The FNCI has more than 70 First Nations, covering over six provinces and territories in Canada, supporting the draft policy framework and requirements for net-zero LNG production.

“The draft policy framework is Indigenous led. It illustrates how to achieve development projects that contribute to national global strategies to achieve net zero by 2050, while supporting economic self-determination in our communities.

“Implementation of the draft policies framework includes construction of viable renewable energy generation and transmission capacity, restoration of the legacy of disturbance in ecosystems from past development, carbon capture and storage, and LNG development as a transition step towards the low-carbon economy.

“For example, we envision transitioning natural gas from a fuel to a feedstock for hydrogen production by 2050. The strategy is not that hypothetical. Our nations are already advancing energy projects which will contribute to these goals, including that described by Chief Smith.”

  • President Clayton on Nisga’a plans for an LNG plant:

“Earlier this year the Nisga’a Nation made a soft announcement about its LNG project, Ksi Lisims LNG.

This new energy system will create opportunities for low-carbon development in the north and a fuel source for transportation systems, particularly shipping from the superport ships on the northwest coast.

“We are building our own partnerships, making our own deals and creating a low-carbon economy where we own a major stake. We are reaching out to you today asking you to work with us to help us achieve our vision, and to help you reduce your GHG emissions.

“We are inviting you to participate in the FNCI process to make this a reality. Indigenous people are leading the way. We need to work together locally, nationally, and internationally, to make the right changes happen as climate-smart, bilateral energy trade and investment cooperate.”

  • Alex Grzybowski

“The First Nations that the FNCI represents understand real projects and real investments. So FNCI is developing a blueprint, a construction-investment plan that is based on real projects  . . . from extraction in northeast BC and Alberta, to net-zero LNG production on the coast, and export.

“It includes how the GHG emissions can be extracted, eliminated or mitigated at each stage. The blueprint involves the production and export of 50 million tonnes per annum  of net-zero LNG. It includes development of renewable energy generation and transmission and infrastructure, to electrify gas development in the present.

“These restoration projects will repair damages done to First Nations territories, from the Alberta border to the west coast. It includes the repurposing of natural-gas infrastructure to the production of hydrogen and other climate-smart fuels and products as part of a low-carbon economy in the future.

“It’s not a dream. It’s a potential reality that First Nations want to make happen. And they need partners from countries like China to make it happen. You probably know that developing projects in Canada can be challenging if you do not have First Nations support. This is different. This is First Nations coming to you as leaders from their own land, creating development opportunities for themselves, with partners who share their vision, and with a view to climate-change mitigation on a global scale.

“These leaders are inviting you to explore opportunities to simultaneously address development needs in climate-change mitigation developments, nationally in Canada and China. and globally in support of the Paris Agreement objective to limit global warming below 2 degrees, ideally 1.5 degrees Celsius.  . . .

“The leaders of the First Nations from Canada want to work with you to face one of the greatest challenges you and the rest of the world has ever faced. And we want you to work with them, here in Canada for the same reason. Which is why FNCI would like representatives of your commercial investment organizations to come to Canada to meet with us. Help us develop the blueprint. More importantly, we invite you to invest in the many different projects it involves.”

  • Karen Ogen-Toews on key objectives of the First Nations LNG Alliance:

“We want to ensure the highest environmental standards are upheld and maintained.

First Nations in BC and Canada want to be included in major projects, and LNG projects as well. We want to be able to continue to engage with government and industry on these LNG projects.

“We want to play an important role in the economic recovery as the pandemic has affected us all. We also want  . . . to look forward to sustainable projects that are responsible, that are going through our territories. So we look forward to the further  projects going throughout BC and support sustainable and responsible LNG.”

(Posted here 01 June 2021) 

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