Reducing methane emissions from Canada’s oil and gas sector

Submission to Environment and Climate Change Canada

May 31, 2022
various old Pembina Institute logos
Jan Gorski
Former Program Director, Oil & Gas
Tom Green
Shareen Yawanarajah
Jonathan Banks
Cover of submission on Reducing methane emissions from Canada’s oil and gas sector

The Pembina Institute, David Suzuki Foundation, Environmental Defense Fund, and the Clean Air Task Force offer comments to Environment and Climate Change Canada on the development of new policy to meet and exceed Canada’s commitment to address methane emissions. We are a coalition of leading climate and energy organizations that have been advocating for policy to address methane pollution in Canada since 2016.

The federal government has committed to reducing Canada’s economy-wide emissions 40–45% below 2005 levels by 2030. The oil and gas sector is the largest source of GHG emissions, making up 26% of Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions in 2019, and must do its fair share of emissions reductions. To achieve this 2030 target, short-term emissions reductions in the sector must be prioritized. Therefore, these methane regulations are critical to achieving rapid GHG reductions in the oil and gas sector, and Canada’s overall emissions goals.

While this makes the challenge of tackling methane urgent, it also underscores the opportunity that this represents as one of few early opportunities for rapid, deep emissions reductions in the oil and gas sector. Mitigating methane emissions typically means implementing measures that essentially keep methane ‘in the pipe’ rather than letting it escape. As such, addressing methane is low cost and much can be done using existing technologies already required in other jurisdictions. Rapidly tackling methane will be crucial to achieving milestone emission reductions during this decade, thereby making important early progress towards the sector’s 2030 target and staving off serious near-term impacts of warming.

Key recommendations

Action on methane will keep Canada (and Canadian technology providers) at the forefront of global methane mitigation efforts and the innovative technology that supports that mitigation. In this submission, we urge Canada to:

  • Strengthen methane regulations for the oil and gas sector with new rules applicable early in 2025 to facilitate crucial interim reductions during this decade.
  • Adopt further measures that will achieve near-zero methane emissions in the oil and gas sector by 2030. In doing so, the government would match the level of ambition for methane emissions reduction already set out by the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative, a global consortium of companies representing 30% global oil and gas production.