Reducing methane emissions

Methane is a potent greenhouse gas with at least 25 times the warming potential of carbon dioxide (CO2) over a 100-year period. Scientists estimate that methane is responsible for 30% of observed global warming to date and that the level of atmospheric methane continues to rise.

Methane is classified as a short-lived climate pollutant, meaning it stays in the atmosphere for a short time compared to other gases like CO2. As a result, actions to cut methane emissions will quickly lower their atmospheric concentrations and lead to a relatively quick climate response. Taking action to reduce emissions is one of the fastest, most cost-effective things we can do to fight climate change, protect our environment, and keep our air clean.

Methane Trend from Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Laboratory in Alert, Nunavut

Long description

Figure 1: Methane trend from Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Laboratory in Alert, Nunavut. Methane concentration measured in parts per billion.

This graphic is a line graph displaying the monthly mean (blue dots) of atmospheric methane concentration, the trend of these measurements (yellow line) and the annual cycle (turquoise line) from June 15, 1985 to March 15, 2022.

The following table displays the annual mean for each year and corresponding observation report.

Year Annual mean
1985 1,744.1
1986 1,763.7
1987 1,774.0
1988 1, 784.0
1989 1,791.9
1990 1,802.8
1991 1,812.8
1992 1,824.4
1993 1,818.8
1994 1,834.8
1995 1,834.2
1996 1,834.6
1997 1,836.4
1998 1,849.0
1999 1,853.3
2000 1,849.2
2001 1,852.8
2002 1,853.4
2003 1,870.5
2004 1,857.1
2005 1,858.8
2006 1,852.0
2007 1,864.8
2008 1,868.5
2009 1,871.5
2010 1,877.8
2011 1,885.4
2012 1,892.8
2013 1,894.6
2014 1,905.9
2015 1,917.4
2016 1,924.9
2017 1,934.2
2018 1,940.2
2019 1,950.5
2020 1,967.7
2021 1,981.1
2022 2,019.8

Canada’s methane emissions

Methane emission projections to 2030

Methane emission projections to 2030

Based on National Inventory Report 2021

Long description

Canada’s methane emission projections to 2030 (based on the National Inventory Report (NIR) 2021) (in megatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent).

Totals may not add up due to rounding.

The Global Methane Pledge Target is a 30% reduction below 2020 levels – applied to a Canadian context.

Sector/Year Agriculture Oil and gas Waste Others Total
2020 27.37 34.06 26.98 3.58 91.99
2021 27.36 33.1 26.95 3.52 90.93
2022 27.38 30.67 25.76 2.76 86.57
2023 27.4 26.61 24.39 2.71 81.11
2024 27.41 25.87 22.92 2.68 78.89
2025 27.39 23.87 21.54 2.61 75.41
2026 27.37 23.43 20.1 2.59 73.5
2027 27.34 21.99 18.82 2.52 70.68
2028 27.33 18.64 17.49 2.47 65.93
2029 27.29 15.3 16.22 2.43 61.26
2030 27.22 11.94 14.9 2.41 56.46

Total methane emissions in 2021

Total methane emissions in 2021
Long description
Sector Megatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (Mt CO2e) Percentage (%) of total
Oil and gas 37 41%
Agriculture 28 31%
Waste 18 20%
Other sources 8 8%
Total 91 14%

What we’re doing

Canada’s Methane Strategy

Canada’s Methane Strategy provides a pathway to further reduce methane emissions from across the economy. It builds on Canada’s progress and commitments since 2015, including the 2030 Emissions Reduction Plan.

Recent actions to reduce methane

Cleaner oil and gas sector

Canada was one of the first countries in the world to regulate methane emissions from the oil and gas sector at the national level. It is also the first country to commit to developing a plan that includes regulations of at least a 75% reduction by 2030, from 2012 levels. Reducing methane emissions from the oil and gas sector includes many low-cost solutions and is one of most effective ways to slow the pace of climate warming. Although the sector is a major economic contributor to the economy, it is also the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions. In 2020, the sector produced 38% of Canada’s methane emissions.

Sustainable agriculture

Agriculture plays an essential role in the economy, and Canada’s farmers help feed the world. Canadian farmers will remain key partners in developing and implementing solutions to tackle climate change and build resilience.

The Government of Canada is committed to supporting Canadian farmers and industry partners who are taking action to reduce emissions, sequester carbon and make their operations more sustainable, productive and competitive.

Capturing landfill methane emissions

Capturing and destroying methane emissions from landfills provides Canadian municipalities with economic and health benefits. These emissions account for 28% of Canada’s total methane emissions.

Measurement, research, innovation and reporting

Canada is a global leader in developing and implementing innovative technologies to detect, track and address methane emissions. We will continue to develop and share innovations in methane science as accurate measurement and quantification of methane is critical to achieving Canada’s methane targets.

Measuring and reporting methane emissions

Supporting Canadian Science and Research

Government of Canada scientists work closely with academia and other experts to study and monitor methane emissions.

Supporting clean technology development

GHGSat – a made-in-Canada success story

From a small start-up in Montréal, Quebec, in 2011, GHGSat has grown to be a recognized global leader in the high-resolution, remote-sensing of greenhouse gas from space. Their data is equipping decision-makers with the intelligence needed to cut methane emissions.

Learn more about GHGSat and other Canadian successes.

As global momentum to reduce methane emissions continues to grow, Canada’s clean technology innovations will provide solutions needed to help accelerate the pace. This strategy advances Canada’s expertise on methane technologies in order to capitalize on the $3.6 trillion clean tech market, creating green energy jobs now and in the future.

Supporting global methane emissions reductions

Canada is providing global leadership and support to tackle methane emissions around the world. From innovative clean tech solutions, financial assistance to developing countries and participation in international climate initiatives to help other countries reduce their methane emissions, we are helping to ensure a cleaner, healthier planet.

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