Minister Guilbeault announces Canada’s draft methane regulations to support cleaner energy and climate action
December 4, 2023 – Dubai, United Arab Emirates
As the world works toward the most effective and affordable climate solutions, cutting oil and gas methane emissions remains one of the fastest and lowest-cost ways to combat climate change. Canada is committed to doing its part.
Today, the Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, announced at the Global Methane Pledge Ministerial that Canada has published strengthened oil and gas methane regulations to cut emissions from this potent greenhouse gas. This makes good on Canada’s commitment when it became the first country in the world to set a target of reducing oil and gas methane emissions by at least 75 percent from 2012 levels by 2030.
During this event, John Kerry, the United States Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, highlighted that the United States recently finalized its own oil and gas methane regulations. Canada’s approach is broadly aligned with that of the United States in both form and stringency.
Putting in place broadly aligned rules across North America builds on collaboration on methane emissions that began in 2016. This aligned approach supports the competitiveness of both countries’ energy industries—that include some of the world’s biggest—to become global leaders in responsible energy production. The requirements to further reduce methane emissions in both countries also creates business opportunities for Canada’s clean tech sector, which is a global leader in affordable solutions for methane abatement. Canadian workers have the experience and skills needed to tackle methane emissions here and to help others around the world as they move to lower emissions.
In advance of COP28, 12 major oil and gas companies had already committed to lowering their methane emissions to near zero by 2030. At COP28, a coalition of 50 oil and gas companies announced their commitment to reduce their methane emissions by 80 to 90 percent by 2030. They understand the need to become among the cleanest producers of oil and gas in the world. The proposed methane regulations are consistent with Canada’s commitment to cap and cut oil and gas emissions and with calls from the International Energy Agency for all oil- and gas-producing countries to reduce methane emissions from the sector by 75 percent by 2030.
The Government of Canada notes the commitments by British Columbia and Alberta to explore ways to achieve a similar reduction target, and welcomes the increased ambition from provinces to tackle their methane emissions. Through continued collaboration with oil and gas-producing provinces, Indigenous partners, industry, and interested stakeholders, Canada will ensure its updated methane regulations achieve the best result possible.
The Government of Canada acknowledges further work is required to accurately quantify methane emissions and Canada is working with scientists, academics, and industry to close the gap between reported and measured emissions. As part of the Government’s ambitious methane abatement plan, the Government of Canada also announced today a $30 million investment to establish a Methane Centre of Excellence in the near term that will improve our understanding and reporting of methane emissions, with a focus on collaborative initiatives to support data and measurement.
Lowering methane emissions will also have positive impacts on air quality and public health. Methane emissions are often emitted along with volatile organic compounds and other toxic air pollutants, which contribute to smog that can cause asthma and other human health issues.
Interested Canadians are invited to help shape Canada’s updated oil and gas methane regulations. Starting on December 16, 2023, Environment and Climate Change Canada will accept feedback on the draft regulations for 60 days. Comments are requested to be submitted through the new Online Regulatory Consultation System. The deadline for comments is February 14, 2024.
“Lowering methane emissions from our oil and gas sector is one of the fastest and most cost-effective ways we can cut the pollution that is fueling climate change. As the world’s fourth largest oil and gas producer, we have both the responsibility and the know-how to do everything we can. At this time of robust profit margins and high energy prices, there has never been a better time for the oil and gas sector to invest in slashing methane emissions.”
– The Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change
“Canadians deserve clean air. We know that methane emissions contribute to smog and climate change, which hurts our collective health and strains our health care systems. With these regulations, the Government of Canada is taking action to protect our air quality and improve the health of Canadians.”
– The Honourable Mark Holland, Minister of Health
“We are taking action to support innovation, reduce emissions, and enhance competitiveness across sectors, including in the oil and gas sector. Reducing methane emissions is one of the most efficient ways to achieve these objectives. Today’s announcement, which includes a new investment to support the establishment of a Methane Centre of Excellence, will help enhance the oil and gas sector’s competitiveness, while ensuring Canada achieves its methane emissions reductions commitments and the economic, health, and climate benefits that their achievement will bring.”
– The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Energy and Natural Resources
“Great to see Canada taking strong action to achieve deep reductions in oil and gas methane emissions, just as the US finalizes our own regulations. This is an essential strategy to limit warming to 1.5 °C.”
– John Kerry, United States Special Presidential Envoy for Climate
“Canada’s ambitious efforts to drive down methane emissions from its oil and gas sector are highly encouraging and show what is possible. The IEA has found that to avoid the worst impacts of the climate crisis, we must reduce methane emissions from oil and gas operations globally by 75 percent this decade. By adopting this target, Canada has established itself as a leader on tackling methane, and we are pleased it is now committed to delivering results. Strong and supportive regulations are crucial to turn energy and climate pledges into meaningful action.”
– Dr. Fatih Birol, Executive Director of the International Energy Agency
Both Canada and the United States’ new oil and gas methane rules eliminate routine venting and flaring, enhance leak detection and repair, and address problems such as blowdowns and other potentially large methane releases.
From 2027 to 2040, the draft methane regulations will reduce cumulative emissions by 217 megatonnes (carbon dioxide equivalent). They will also have positive social and economic benefits of $12.4 billion from avoided global damages.
Canada is on track to meet its 2025 methane reduction target of 40 to 45 percent below 2012 levels. The draft regulations published today are amendments to the 2018 methane regulations.
Canada supports 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.
Methane is a potent, but relatively short-lived, greenhouse gas, and is the second most important greenhouse gas behind carbon dioxide.
- News Release – September 20, 2023 – Beating 75 percent target for cutting oil and gas methane emissions is Canada’s next challenge: Minister Guilbeault
- News Release – November 10, 2022 – Canada and the United States to take further actions to address emissions from North American oil and gas sector
- Canada’s Methane Strategy
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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