Beating 75 percent target for cutting oil and gas methane emissions is Canada’s next challenge: Minister Guilbeault
September 20, 2023 – New York City, United States
This week at the United Nations Secretary General’s Climate Ambition Summit, world leaders and ministers addressed the role that methane emissions play as one of the key drivers contributing to the increase in extreme climate-related weather events worldwide. Cutting oil and gas methane emissions is one of the fastest and most cost-effective ways to combat climate change. Methane, a potent but relatively short-lived greenhouse gas, is 86 times more harmful than carbon dioxide over a 20-year period. Reducing methane emissions across the economy is a priority for Canada.
Today, during an event hosted by the Global Methane Hub and Google.org in New York City, on behalf of the Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Catherine Stewart, Canada’s Ambassador for Climate Change, announced that Canada will exceed its target of reducing methane emissions from the oil and gas sector by at least 75 percent from 2012 levels by 2030.
The upstream oil and gas methane regulations will be published in draft form later this fall. They will achieve significant methane emission reductions from new and existing upstream oil and gas facilities through performance standards, and a risk-based approach for leak detection and repair (LDAR) with increased stringency for sites with the highest risk of unintentional releases (fugitive emissions).
This announcement builds on complimentary regulatory approach to oil and gas methane emissions that also includes offshore framework regulations and updating the Multi-Sector Air Pollutants Regulations.
Canada’s approach to cutting methane emissions from oil and gas activities will help fulfill its international Global Methane Pledge commitments. In recognition of Canada’s work to date, Catherine Stewart, Canada’s Ambassador for Climate Change, was announced as one of the new Global Methane Pledge champions during today’s event.
The oil and gas sector is Canada’s largest methane source, and today’s announcement by Minister Guilbeault reflects the results of consultations conducted over the last nine months on the approach to driving further methane reductions from oil and gas activities.
As laid out in our 2030 Emissions Reduction Plan, the approach is similar to that of the United States, which is finalizing new rules to eliminate routine venting and flaring, enhance leak detection and repair, and address problems such as blowdowns and other potentially large releases.
Reducing oil and gas sector emissions will be key to delivering meaningful climate action, creating sustainable growth, and providing affordable sources of clean energy. Making investments now will position the North American oil and gas industry among the cleanest in the world and enable it to compete in an increasingly decarbonizing industry.
In fact, some of the world’s largest oil and gas companies have also raised their ambition for methane emission reductions from oil and gas production by 2030. Alberta and British Columbia have both announced similar reduction targets which align with Canada’s target, and which clearly point to the feasibility of achieving deep methane emission reductions in the near term.
Through continued collaboration with the oil and gas producing provinces, Indigenous partners, industry, and interested stakeholders, Canada will ensure that upcoming draft methane regulatory amendments achieve the best result possible. Environment and Climate Change Canada expects to publish the draft amendments in December 2023.
“Reducing methane emissions is one of the lowest cost opportunities to make immediate and important progress on our climate goals. That’s why we are raising our ambition for oil and gas sector methane emissions. Tackling methane emissions pays off environmentally and economically. A well-established track record has earned Canada the expertise to help others lower their methane emissions. It also supports good jobs in a growing, low-carbon economy, and provides Canada’s oil and gas sector rewarding opportunities in responsible energy production.”
– The Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change
Canada is proud to support increased global ambition on climate change through the Global Methane Pledge. Momentum to reduce methane emissions is growing, with over 150 countries signing the Pledge. The Pledge commits countries to a collective goal of reducing human-caused methane emissions by at least 30 percent from 2020 levels by 2030.
In her role as Global Methane Pledge champion, Catherine Stewart, Canada’s Ambassador for Climate Change, will help guide Canada’s next steps in helping others reduce their methane emissions, and work collectively with the champions to spur global efforts to reduce emissions from key sectors such as agriculture, oil and gas, and waste.
The full list of Global Methane Pledge champions includes Canada, the United States, the European Union, Germany, Japan, the Federated States of Micronesia, and Nigeria.
Canada’s ambitious plan to reduce methane emissions is outlined in our national Methane Strategy. This document fulfills Canada’s international commitments under the Global Methane Pledge to release its economy-wide methane reduction strategy.
With the measures outlined in the Methane Strategy, domestic methane emissions will be reduced by more than 35 percent by 2030, compared to 2020 levels.
Lowering methane emissions can also have positive impacts on air quality and public health. Methane emissions are often emitted along with volatile organic compounds and other harmful toxic air pollutants, which contribute to smog that can cause asthma and other human health issues.
In 2018, Canada became one of the first countries to establish national methane regulations for the oil and gas sector. Canada is on track to achieve the 40–45 percent reductions in emissions by 2025 (from 2012 levels) that the regulations called for.
The Government of Canada remains committed to accurate methane reporting and global efforts to improve measurement, reporting, and verification. Canada supports world-leading technology, such as Montréal’s GHGSat, to accurately measure and locate methane emissions.
Canada is an active participant in many international initiatives, including the Global Methane Pledge, the Global Methane Initiative, and the Climate and Clean Air Coalition, to name a few.
The Government of Canada is also proud of the work we are advancing through our $7.5 million bilateral climate finance programming in Small Island Developing States with key partners, such as the Global Methane Hub and the Center for Clean Air Policy.
We have also committed $2 million in climate finance for biogas, and oil and gas methane mitigation projects in developing countries, selected with the help of the Global Methane Initiative.
Last November at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27), Canada and the United States agreed to increase co-operation on reducing oil and gas emissions with a special focus on methane, given that it is one of the fastest and most cost-effective ways to combat climate change.
Office of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change
Environment and Climate Change Canada
819-938-3338 or 1-844-836-7799 (toll-free)
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