Business and environmental leaders call for strong Canadian oil and gas methane regulationsTackling methane is the easiest, cheapest way to reduce climate pollution and stimulate local economies

July 27, 2017

Photo: Roberta Franchuk, Pembina Institute

OTTAWA — Canada's proposed regulations to reduce methane emissions from the oil and gas industry are a positive development — however, to fully deliver their economic and environmental potential, they must be strengthened, according to a diverse group of Canadian stakeholders representing business, environment and labour. The oil and gas industry is Canada’s largest source of human-caused methane pollution.   

Reducing methane from the oil and gas sector is a key aspect of the federal government’s pan-Canadian climate framework. Methane is a highly potent greenhouse gas, responsible for about a quarter of today’s climate warming — and those emissions come mingled with a host of other smog-forming and carcinogenic pollutants.

“Peer-reviewed research shows Canada’s methane emissions are as much as 250 per cent higher than reported by industry and government,” said David Suzuki Foundation science and policy director Ian Bruce. “The responsible course is to move urgently and enact strong regulations to reduce methane emissions from the oil and gas sector and accelerate the transition to a clean energy economy.”

Leaked methane is also a wasted product. In 2015, nearly C$370 million worth of natural gas escaped from Canadian oil and gas fields, enough to supply every household in Edmonton and Calgary for a year.

“Reductions in methane emissions in the oil and gas sector can be not only cost effective, but also achievable with existing technologies and techniques. Implementation of reasonable methane controls will provide investors with confidence that companies are taking necessary action to protect the long-term value of their business and promoting a sustainable global economy,” according to a group of investors, including Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR), Ceres Investor Network on Climate Risks and Sustainability (INCR), and Shareholder Association for Research and Education (SHARE), with C$89.75 billion under investment.

Curbing oil and gas methane requires little in the way of new capital or fundamental changes in business practices. Many low-cost solutions are available today. Fixing methane leaks is often as easy as tightening valves and repairing equipment.

"Implementing effective methane regulations is one of the cheapest and easiest ways to reduce greenhouse gas pollution while creating good jobs," said Blue Green Canada program manager Jamie Kirkpatrick. "Innovative Canadian methane management companies are poised for expansion and job growth based on efforts to comply with new methane rules."

 In the U.S., existing and proposed state-level policies aimed at reducing oil and gas emissions cover 25 per cent more production than would be covered by Canada’s proposed national methane rules. Some states, such as Colorado and California, have gone further than others have and are a model for effective methane regulations.

 "Twenty-one countries across the world have recognized reducing oil and gas methane as a huge opportunity, while energy-producing states in the U.S. are pushing forward on methane regulations,” said Environmental Defense Fund international affairs director Drew Nelson. “Canada’s methane rules — if strengthened — will help the country catch up to other jurisdictions."

 The group of stakeholders submitted comments independently on the federal draft methane regulations introduced by Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna in May. The final federal regulations are expected later this year or early in 2018, with Alberta’s provincial methane rules to be proposed in the coming months.

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Contacts:

Jamie Kirkpatrick, Blue Green Canada, 416-323-9521 ext. 289, jkirkpatrick@bluegreencanada.ca

Stuart Ross, Clean Air Task Force, 914-649-5037, sross@catf.us

Cat Abreu, Climate Action Network, 902-412-8953, catherineabreu@climateactionnetwork.ca

Emily Fister, The David Suzuki Foundation, 604-440-5470, efister@davidsuzuki.org

Dale Marshall, Environmental Defence Canada, 613-868-9917, dmarshall@environmentaldefence.ca

Lauren Whittenberg, Environmental Defense Fund, 512-691-3437, lwhittenberg@edf.org

Dale Robertson, Equiterre, 514 605-2000, drobertson@equiterre.org

Kelly O’Connor, Pembina Institute, 416-220-8804, kellyo@pembina.org

Audrey Mascarenhas, Questor Technology Inc., 403-608-8606, amascarenhas@questortech.com

 BLUE GREEN CANADA is an alliance between Canadian labour unions and environmental and civil society organizations to advocate for working people and the environment by promoting solutions to environmental issues that have positive employment and economic impacts.

Clean Air Task Force is a non-profit environmental organization with offices across the U.S.. CATF works to help safeguard against the worst impacts of climate change by catalyzing the rapid global development and deployment of low-carbon energy and other climate-protecting technologies through research and analysis, public advocacy leadership and partnership with the private sector. For more information, please visit www.catf.us

Climate Action Network-Reseau action climat Canada is a coalition of more than 100 organizations that care about how a changing climate affects people, plants and wildlife. It works to advance solutions to managing carbon pollution through sustainable and equitable development.

The David Suzuki Foundation is a leading Canadian environmental non-profit organization that collaborates with Canadians from all walks of life, including government and business, to conserve the environment and find solutions to create a sustainable Canada through science-based research, education and policy work.

 Environmental Defence (environmentaldefence.ca): Environmental Defence is Canada’s most effective environmental action organization. It challenges and inspires change in government, business and people to ensure a greener, healthier and prosperous life for all.

 Environmental Defense Fund (edf.org) isa leading international non-profit organization that creates transformational solutions to the most serious environmental problems. EDF links science, economics, law and innovative private-sector partnerships. Connect with us on TwitterFacebook, and our Energy Exchange, and Voices blogs.

Equiterre With more than 130,000 followers, 20,000 paying members and 1,953 media mentions (in 2014), Equiterre is Quebec's most prominent environmental group and one of the most influential ENGOs federally. For over 20 years, Equiterre (legal name ASEED) has worked with citizens, farmers, organizations, think tanks, businesses, municipalities and governments of all stripes to influence environment and climate change policies and related practices in Quebec and Canada. Equiterre’s national policy work is led out of its Ottawa office.

The Pembina Institute is a non-profit think tank that advocates for strong, effective policies to support Canada’s clean energy transition. It has offices in Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto, and Ottawa. Learn more: www.pembina.org

Questor Technology Inc. is a public, international environmental cleantech company founded in late 1994 and headquartered in Calgary, Alberta, with field offices in Grande Prairie, Alberta; Brighton, Colorado; and Brooksville, Florida. The company is active in Canada, the United States, Europe and Asia and focuses on clean-air technologies that safely and cost-effectively improve air quality and support energy efficiency and greenhouse gas emission reductions. Questor provides high-efficiency waste gas combustion systems, as well as power-generation systems and water-treatment solutions utilizing waste heat. Its proprietary combustor technology is utilized worldwide in the effective management of methane, hydrogen sulphide gas (H2S), volatile organic hydrocarbons (VOC’s), hazardous air pollutants (HAP’s) and BTEX gases, ensuring sustainable development, community acceptance and regulatory compliance. Questor and its subsidiary, ClearPower Systems, are providing solutions for landfill biogas, syngas, waste engine exhaust, geothermal and solar, cement plant waste heat, in addition to a wide variety of oil and gas projects in Canada and throughout the United States, Caribbean, Western Europe, Russia, Thailand, and Indonesia. With a focus on solid engineering design, its products enable clients to operate cost-effectively in an environmentally responsible and sustainable manner. Questor trades on the TSX Venture Exchange under the symbol ‘QST’.

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