Canada finalizes major commitment to reduce carbon pollution

News release

April 26, 2018 – Ottawa, Ontario

First-ever national regulations will reduce methane from the oil-and-gas sector and protect Canadian competitiveness.

The Government of Canada is delivering on its promise to fight climate change and grow the economy because it understands that pollution has a real, tangible cost, which puts stress on the health of our communities, on our economy, and on Canadians themselves. These methane regulations are one of the ways the Government is taking action to reduce pollution, which is the right thing to do for our health, our economy, and the environment.

As part of Canada’s national climate plan, these regulations aim to reduce methane emissions from the oil and gas sector to meet Canada’s climate target.

Today, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna, announced new regulations that will reduce methane emissions in the oil and gas sector by almost half. The regulations will also help conserve valuable natural-gas resources. 

Canada’s methane regulations were developed after extensive consultations with provinces, territories, industry, and other stakeholders. The regulations will keep Canada globally competitive while protecting the environment.

In finalizing these regulations, Canada recognized the challenging market environment for the oil and gas sector. The Government included flexibilities to reduce costs and encourage innovation while ensuring Canada meets its target: reducing methane emissions from oil and gas by 40 to 45 percent below the 2012 level, by 2025. 

The final regulations will

  • Create new clean-technology jobs in the oil-and-gas industry. There are already more than 170 Canadian companies providing affordable and proven clean-technology services. Companies will hire more workers as these regulations are phased in.
  • Cut carbon pollution by about 20 million tonnes a year, which is equal to removing about five million passenger vehicles from the road each year. This reduction will help Canada lessen the economic impact of global climate change effects, such as droughts and floods. Cutting methane emissions is one of the lowest-cost actions Canada can take to reduce carbon pollution.
  • Provide better air quality for Canadians living and working near certain oil and gas facilities, since harmful air pollutants are mixed with methane emissions. Cleaner air leads to better health and fewer hospital visits for those with existing conditions, such as asthma and heart-related health concerns.

Canada’s regulations are designed to promote innovation and provide flexibility for industry to choose the most cost-effective compliance options. For example, many companies are exploring the use of drones equipped with infrared cameras to detect methane leaks, which would save time and money compared to conventional leak-detection and repair methods. 

Canada is also phasing in the implementation of regulations to provide more lead time for industry to maximize investments in new technology and upgrade existing facilities. 

In total, the changes Canada made during regulatory consultations have reduced potential compliance costs for the oil and gas industry by more than $1 billion.

The federal methane regulations provide a backstop for reducing methane emissions. Under the equivalency provisions of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999, provinces and territories can choose to develop their own regulations. These regulations can replace federal measures provided that they can clearly demonstrate equivalent emission reductions. 

Developed jointly by the federal government and provinces and territories, in partnership with Indigenous Peoples, and in consultation with Canadians, Canada’s clean-growth and climate action plan is allowing the country to meet emission reduction targets to which it committed, under the United Nations Paris Agreement, while growing the economy and building climate resilience.


Quotes

“These regulations are smart and practical measures that support clean technology and good new jobs in the oil and gas sector. By better detecting and patching leaks, companies will be able to save—and sell—natural gas that’s going into the atmosphere today. Canada is a leader in clean competitiveness, and, with these regulations, we’re showing that the environment and the economy go hand in hand.” 

– Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change

Quick facts

  • Methane is the main part of natural gas that is used to heat homes and power factories. The proposed regulations will help Canada’s oil and gas industry conserve valuable natural gas that is now wasted. These regulations will help producers save over $1 billion worth of natural gas between 2018 and 2035.

  • Methane is a potent greenhouse gas responsible for about 25 percent of the human-caused global warming we feel today, and it packs more than 70 times the warming power of carbon dioxide over a 20-year period.

  • The amount of natural gas that will be conserved as a result of these regulations will be greater than the total amount used by all of the homes in the province of Saskatchewan, in a given year.

  • Canada’s methane regulations are similar to oil and gas requirements that already exist in other jurisdictions, such as California, Colorado, Utah, and Pennsylvania, some of which have more stringent requirements.

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Contacts

Caroline Thériault
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change
613-462-5473
caroline.theriault2@canada.ca

Media Relations
Environment and Climate Change Canada
819-938-3338 or 1-844-836-7799 (toll-free)
ec.media.ec@canada.ca

Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Twitter page

Environment and Natural Resources in Canada’s Facebook page


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