Canada prioritizes methane reductions in new climate plan, underscores oil and gas sector must contribute to climate goals

Dec. 12, 2016

Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) and the Pembina Institute welcomed the confirmation that Canada will deliver on earlier commitments to develop national methane regulations to curb these highly potent emissions from the oil and gas industry as part of Canada’s new climate plan. About one-quarter of today’s global warming is caused by methane, with emissions from the oil and gas industry a chief contributor. Canada’s climate plan prioritizes the creation of new standards to drive down 45 per cent of this industry’s methane emissions by 2025, a goal to which the Province of Alberta has also committed.

“Reducing oil and gas methane emissions can deliver a significant contribution to achieving Canada’s climate commitments and is one important step in demonstrating that Canada really is ‘back’ as a force for good in global climate action,” said Duncan Kenyon, the Pembina Institute program director, unconventional oil and gas. “Given that oil and gas methane represents one of Canada’s largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions, reducing methane emissions should play a large role as part of Canada’s climate plan.”

“The central role of methane in Canada’s climate action plan shows just how critical it is to curb these emissions from the oil and gas industry,” said Drew Nelson, Environmental Defense Fund senior manager. “This is an important step as without proper regulations, the oil and gas sector would not be doing its share to meet Canada’s climate goals. Fortunately, the surge in affordable technologies has made it possible for companies to cost-effectively capture methane – making it a clear win for Canadian businesses and the environment.”

Why Methane Matters

An effective climate strategy requires aggressive action to reduce carbon dioxide and methane.  Natural gas is over 95 per cent methane which is a super-charged greenhouse gas contributing to climate change, because its short-term impact is 84 times more powerful than carbon dioxide. According to data from Canada’s greenhouse gas inventory, oil and gas methane emissions are one of Canada’s largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions and are almost double the size of the next largest source of methane in Canada.

Analysis indicates that Canada’s oil and gas methane emissions can be reduced by 45 per cent below projected 2020 levels using existing and low-cost technologies. Achieving this per cent reduction across Canada is equal to eliminating 27 million metric tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions, or the same climate benefit as taking every passenger car off the road in British Columbia and Alberta. Even at today’s relatively low gas prices, these reductions are estimated to add just one cent to the current price of gas.

Contact:

Lauren Whittenberg, 512-691-3437, [email protected]

Faye Roberts, 647-924-4454, [email protected]

Andrew Aziz, 647-217-7967, [email protected]

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