OTTAWA | TRADITIONAL, UNCEDED TERRITORY OF THE ALGONQUIN ANISHNAABEG PEOPLE — As the world’s climate conference COP28 continues this week in Dubai, Canada’s draft methane regulations demonstrate for other countries how to effectively deal with methane emissions from the oil and gas sector.
The federal government’s draft regulations require the oil and gas industry to eliminate more than 75 per cent of methane emissions by 2030.
Tom Green, the foundation’s senior climate policy adviser, said:
“Any government that is serious about acting on the climate crisis needs to act decisively on methane — and these draft regulations do exactly that.
“After this summer of climate reckoning — with record wildfires, heat waves and droughts wreaking havoc across Canada and around the world — implementing these methane regulations immediately, and holding oil and gas companies responsible for decreasing their emissions, couldn’t be more pressing. We need strong methane regulations and a cap on emissions from the oil and gas sector to hold this industry accountable for cleaning up its pollution.
“The Canadian oil and gas industry vents and leaks a lot of methane, a highly potent greenhouse gas, into the atmosphere. Reducing oil and gas methane emissions is one of the fastest and cheapest ways to slow climate change in the short term, and much of the technology needed to eliminate methane emissions is readily available.
“We need to fix industry’s serious emissions under-reporting as surfaced by Canada’s environment commissioner. The commissioner found methane emissions from the oil and gas industry are underestimated in Canada by anywhere from 25 to 90 per cent. We are very pleased that the federal government committed $30 million to a Centre of Excellence to improve methane measurements. We’ll have better emissions data and we’ll be able to independently verify progress on methane emissions reductions.
“As we learn more of the details, we’ll continue to highlight how the regulations can be further strengthened, including risks introduced by the performance-based approach and the current delayed implementation date of 2027.”
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- Methane is a potent greenhouse gas with more than 80 times the climate warming impact of carbon dioxide over its first 20 years in the atmosphere. To reduce the pace and amount of global warming methane emissions from oil and gas must be rapidly and aggressively reduced. Addressing methane is one of few early opportunities for rapid, deep emissions reductions in the oil and gas sector. These new methane regulations meet the government’s commitment to ensure the oil and gas industry eliminates at least 75 per cent of methane emissions by 2030.
- Beyond exacerbating the climate crisis, methane escalates air pollution by generating harmful pollutants such as nitrogen oxides and particulate matter (PM2.5) when it is burned, and ozone. These are linked to asthma in children, other lung and heart diseases, stroke, dementia, hospitalizations in the elderly, premature birth risks in pregnant women and premature deaths.
- Currently, methane emissions in Canada’s inventory are based on industry-reported data — which studies have shown is inaccurate due to outdated methods — rather than measuring actual methane releases. A cloud of methane pollution over the Alberta and Saskatchewan border last year surprised government and industry alike and was only discovered because of a European satellite. There have been calls for a centre of excellence for methane that generates independent data and improves the methane inventory.
- In Saskatchewan, heavy oil facilities were found to be releasing 3.9 times as much methane as was reported in the inventory. In British Columbia, research shows methane pollution in the oil and gas sector is at least 2.5 times greater than reported by industry and government.
- Canada is a founding member of the Global Methane Pledge, in which more than 150 countries are participating.
- For more information on methane pollution, visit: CutMethane.ca