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Ad Standards Canada Ruling Leaked: Finds LNG Ads Guilty of Greenwashing

The third-party advertising watchdog unanimously ruled that Canada Action’s LNG ads are inaccurate and misleading

Updated 05/28/2024

Canada’s third-party advertising watchdog “Ad Standards” ruled unanimously on January 30, 2024 that Canada Action advertisements claiming “LNG will reduce global emissions” are inaccurate and misleading.

The decision was shared this week by the Canadian Associations of Physicians for the Environment (CAPE) and Gitanyow Hereditary Chiefs after being leaked to them anonymously.

The ads in question are the same as those highlighted in our blog last month on how to report LNG greenwashing in Canada. Using a green backdrop and making unsupported claims about LNG’s climate benefits, the ads are a textbook example of LNG greenwashing by the fossil fuel industry, and part of a broad effort to (falsely) characterize LNG as a climate-friendly fuel.

Methane slip - the escape of unburned methane - occurs at several points in the LNG lifecycle, including when methane isn’t fully burned during combustion, or when methane escapes directly from the exhaust valve of a ship’s engine. Since methane is such a potent greenhouse gas, even small amounts of escaped methane (“slipping”) contribute to the climate crisis. Despite being greenwashed as a cleaner alternative, there is no climate benefit to using LNG as a fuel for shipping.

In reality, LNG is not a climate solution and has no place in a sustainable shipping future.

LNG is composed mainly of methane that leaks into the atmosphere at all stages of its lifecycle, from production to burning. Methane, which is responsible for 25% of global warming, is 82 times more potent than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas.

The surge in LNG’s use as a marine fuel in recent years has contributed to a 150% increase in methane emissions over just six years. LNG is also detrimental for health—the news from CAPE includes research connecting fracking (used to produce LNG) with adverse birth outcomes, breathing and heart issues, and premature deaths. 

Despite the Ad Standards ruling in January, the greenwashing ads have continued to run across Canada, with no signs of slowing down. Say No to LNG stands with CAPE and the Gitanyow Hereditary Chiefs alongside others in calling for a complete, tobacco-style fossil fuel ad ban in Canada—the only way to ensure Canadians are protected from false LNG claims in the future. 

LNG greenwashing is plaguing our ability to understand the true harms of this deadly fuel. Months after a greenwashing ruling, harmful ads continue to be seen across the country. Canada needs stronger, proactive measures to prevent fossil fuel greenwashing; a complete fossil fuel advertising ban would stop LNG greenwashing before it starts.

– Curtis Martin, Say No to LNG Canada Campaigner

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