As published in the Financial Post

The recent visit to Canada of Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida clearly demonstrates Japan is actively searching for more supplies of energy, including LNG, from allies as it shifts away from Russian imports.

Of course, Japan isn’t alone. Korea and Germany have also come knocking at our door.

The world wants and needs Canada’s energy, specifically Canadian LNG.

Some say this demand is being driven by an “energy crisis,” but it’s so much more than that.

Every moment of human progress in history has, at its core, relied on an improved access to lower-cost, high-intensity, and more-reliable energy. This has been true throughout history, and it remains true today.

Energy is the foundation for more than economic growth and a higher quality of life. Energy is the foundation of life itself.

Europe and Asia want our energy for energy security and to displace fuel like coal to combat climate change. But others need it too.

According to the World Health Organization, last year 733 million people still had no access to electricity and 2.4 billion were still cooking using fuels detrimental to their health, such as plastics and dung. By 2030 the number of people without access to electricity is forecast to be 670 million — a population 20 times Canada’s.

This is the other side of the energy crisis that doesn’t get enough attention.

When it comes to energy and climate change some say that we need to make choices, trade-offs.

But starving the world of cleaner, more affordable and dependable energy is not the answer to the energy crisis or climate change — it will make both of these problems worse.

Whether it’s feeding your family, enabling prosperity and a better quality of life or, importantly, addressing climate change, energy is not the problem, it’s the solution.

That’s where Canada comes in. We can and should meet this global need. In fact, we as Canadians have an obligation to provide that energy to the world because Canada produces energy more sustainably than anywhere else in the world.

Thanks to government, industry and individual efforts, we already lead in reducing the 1.5 per cent of global emissions created within our borders. But if we really want to combat climate change, we must set our sights higher — on the 98.5 per cent of global emissions outside of Canada. That can be done through LNG.

Canadian LNG has some clear advantages over LNG produced elsewhere in the world. It’s the cleanest when it comes to greenhouse gas emissions due to our use of hydroelectricity to power facilities; colder climate, requiring less energy to produce LNG; and shorter shipping distances to markets in Asia, reducing emissions from transport.

LNG can also play an important role in Indigenous nation building and reconciliation. Through equity partnerships, LNG projects can help Indigenous communities prosper, and by bringing them in as project partners we can better tap into their environmental expertise which is second to none.

When you factor this all together it makes sense for Canada to provide the energy the world needs.

To do this, I suggest a few guiding principles for governments, industry, and Indigenous communities to work on together. First, as a nation, we need to align and rally around the belief that there’s more Canada can do on the world stage; developing Canadian LNG will help to stabilize energy security and lower emissions, both at home and abroad. We should embrace this responsibility, not shirk from it.

We then need to focus on what we can do to attract the investment at home into our LNG sector.

The single biggest obstacle is a regulatory system that impedes action and slows development — this has to be turned on its head. Regulatory and permitting processes need to focus on how a project happens in the right way, which means figuring out how we can give proponents — and our international customers — confidence that Canada can get projects built.

We must also listen to, follow and partner with the leadership of Indigenous Nations. Now that they are bringing forward their own projects, we need financial models that support their ambition, and we need regulatory processes that get those projects built.

This approach needs to extend to both conventional and new energy projects, to LNG and renewables, to create the energy systems we need today and tomorrow.

And we need to make sure we don’t repeat the mistakes of the past. We must include Indigenous Nations as full partners and respect their place as the leaders and champions of these projects if they choose to be involved.

Canada definitely has a business case for LNG, and we have an obligation to help and to do so in a truly Canadian way, which is to say, to do the right thing, for the right reasons, in the right way — and to do it now.