Canada’s New Regulations: Targeting Methane Leaks in Oil and Gas Operations

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On Monday, Canada released preliminary rules aimed at controlling methane emissions to limit the release of this powerful greenhouse gas from its extensive oil and gas facilities.

The initiative contributes to a worldwide strategy to significantly reduce methane emissions, aligning Canada with the United States, which recently introduced comparable regulations as part of the effort.

Addressing the United Nations climate summit in Dubai, Canada’s Environment Minister, Steven Guilbeault, declared Canada’s commitment to stop the regular release of methane into the atmosphere by ending the common practice of venting and flaring in its oil and gas infrastructure.

“Not only can methane emissions be captured and achieved at a low cost for the oil and gas companies, but that captured methane can then be sold or used as a source of energy,” said Guilbeault.

According to Guilbeault, as the fourth-largest oil-producing country globally, Canada plans to enhance its endeavors in identifying faulty oil and gas infrastructure leaks and tackling additional factors responsible for the release of methane.

Although methane remains in the atmosphere for a shorter duration than carbon dioxide, its climate-warming impact is around 80 times greater than CO2 over 20 years. This emphasizes the critical need for countries to reduce emissions significantly to restrain the global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit).

According to the government, Canada’s proposed methane regulations are anticipated to lead to a decrease of 217 million metric tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent in emissions between 2027 and 2040.

Environmental advocates praised the regulations, while Alberta, Canada’s primary oil and gas-producing province, expressed immediate opposition. The conservative government in Alberta has frequently disagreed with the federal Liberals over climate policy, leading to conflicts on multiple occasions.

Premier Danielle Smith expressed Alberta’s support for reducing methane emissions, yet she deemed Ottawa’s new targets unrealistic.

“Our government will use every tool at our disposal to ensure these absurd federal regulations are never implemented in our province,” said Smith.

As one of the more than 150 countries that signed the 2021 Global Methane Pledge, Canada has committed to cutting methane emissions by 30% by 2030.

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Written by Olivia Woods

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