Methane pollution

Cutting methane emissions is one of the cheapest, easiest and most effective things that governments can do right now to tackle climate change.

Methane pollution from the oil and gas industry

Methane pollution comes from a number of different sources, some natural and some human-caused.

Oil and gas drilling and hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) operations are major sources of methane pollution, via leaks from damaged or improperly fitted equipment and intentionally vented gas.

Recent research shows that methane pollution from the B.C. oil and gas sector is at least 2.5 times greater than reported by industry and government. This challenges the claim that natural gas and LNG are “clean” transition fuels.

We are only now beginning to understand the scale of Canada’s methane pollution problem, which has been underreported for years. The sooner we can take action to eliminate these emissions, the better.

Ian Bruce, Director of Science and Policy 

Methane is a dangerous greenhouse gas

Every minute of every day, Canada’s oil and gas industry leaks and intentionally vents methane into the atmosphere. It traps 84 times as much heat as carbon dioxide over a 20-year time frame. Leading scientists estimate that methane is responsible for 25 per cent of already observed changes to Earth’s climate.

According to the International Energy Agency, taking global action to reduce these emissions would have the same climate benefit by 2100 as eliminating all of China’s coal plants.

Methane metrics

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84 times

Over a 20-year period, methane traps 84 times as much heat in the atmosphere as carbon dioxide.

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25 per cent

Methane is responsible for 25 per cent of already observed changes to Earth's climate.

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Cheap and effective

Cutting methane emissions from oil and gas is one of the cheapest, most effective ways to address climate change.

Tell Canada to stay firm on methane climate action

Industry is pressuring provinces. Tell the Government of Canada to hold the line on methane pollution by rejecting weak provincial regulations.

Send your message now!

Field research: Measuring the problem

In 2015 and 2016, researchers from St. Francis Xavier University and the David Suzuki Foundation completed the most thorough ground-based measurement of methane emissions ever conducted in Canada.

Scientists travelled more than 8,000 kilometres using a sniffer truck, covering more than 1,600 well pads and facilities.

This groundbreaking research revealed that methane pollution from B.C.’s oil and gas industry is at least 2.5 times higher than reported by industry and government.

Methane punches far above its weight as a climate-altering pollutant. Meaningful action on climate change is impossible without addressing the threat that methane poses.

John Werring, Senior Science and Policy Advisor 

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  • Sniffer truck

    This natural gas sniffer truck helped our team of investigators explore how oil and gas companies operating in British Columbia were managing their methane emissions.

  • Field researcher

    David Suzuki Foundation's Senior Science and Policy Advisor, John Werring, ties up a balloon that has captured natural gas from a vent on the exterior of an instrument shed at an operating gas well site.

  • A suspended oil well

    This suspended oil well was found to be leaking methane several years after its last documented inspection.

Science and Learning Centre

Opportunity for B.C. to show climate leadership

We have a short window of time to get the B.C. government to enact one of the cheapest, fastest and most effective climate solutions available today.

Right now, the provincial government is drafting methane regulations that could drastically reduce emissions of this potent climate pollutant. This is a huge opportunity for real, measurable change.

Methane pollution in B.C. has been vastly underreported, but the province now has an opportunity to take one the most affordable and effective climate action steps possible.

Ian Bruce, Director of Science and Policy 

Have your say!

Methane is 84 times more powerful than carbon dioxide over a 20-year time frame. It’s time to make sure provinces enact one of the cheapest, fastest, most effective climate solutions.

Take action now!