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press release

Climate groups welcome draft methane regulations and call for them to be swiftly finalized

December 4, 2023

OTTAWA/TRADITIONAL, UNCEDED TERRITORY OF THE ALGONQUIN ANISHNAABEG PEOPLE — Climate organizations welcome the draft regulations to reduce methane emissions from Canada’s oil and gas sector by at least 75% below 2012 levels by 2030, announced today by Environment and Climate Change Minister Steven Guilbeault.

Methane is a potent greenhouse gas with a near-term impact more than 80 times that of carbon dioxide. Eliminating methane emissions is one of the quickest and most cost-effective ways to limit warming, and the solutions to do so are already available. But with Canadian oil and gas companies significantly underreporting their methane emissions, the regulations and funding for a new independent data centre are crucial to hold them to account.

Climate groups call on the federal government to finalize the regulations and implement them swiftly, alongside strong regulations to cap and cut all emissions from the oil and gas industry.

The best way to fully eliminate methane pollution is by phasing out fossil fuel production. As momentum grows at COP28 towards a full, fair, and funded fossil fuel phase-out, Canada must use every tool at its disposal to reduce the enormous climate impact of its oil and gas industry.

Caroline Brouillette, Executive Director, Climate Action Network Canada:

“At a COP so focused on closing the implementation gap, it’s important to see Canada move from promise to regulation on methane emissions. Now to finally tackle the oil and gas industry’s growing pollution, Canada’s framework to cap oil and gas emissions must be published as soon as possible with a science-aligned target.”

Tom Green, Senior Climate Policy Adviser, David Suzuki Foundation

“As the global climate crisis intensifies, the federal government’s revised 2030 methane regulations represent a crucial and urgently required move towards a climate-resilient future. Following a summer marked by destructive wildfires and extreme weather events, it is imperative that we hold the oil and gas sector accountable to achieve immediate methane reductions, which are often underestimated by 50 percent or more. The substantial $30 million federal commitment to a Centre of Excellence signifies significant progress in obtaining more accurate methane data. We strongly encourage provinces to promptly align with federal regulations, avoiding unfounded resistance that we are now seeing from the Alberta government.”

Julia Levin, Associate Director, National Climate, Environmental Defence Canada:

“These new rules, when finalized, will position Canada as a global leader on reducing methane pollution from the oil and gas industry. Government regulation is necessary. Fossil fuel companies, rather than addressing their methane problems, have lobbied against these rules. They have also lied about how much of this powerful greenhouse gas they were releasing, which is why today’s funding announcement for an independent body to ensure the government has access to real-time methane measurements, independent from industry, is so critical. Of course, the best way to eliminate methane pollution is by ending the production of oil and gas. And that’s the goal here at COP28 – to leave here with an agreed upon timeline to phase out fossils.”

Keith Stewart, senior energy strategist, Greenpeace Canada:

“Reducing methane emissions is a quick and low-cost way to reduce the harm from extracting and refining oil and gas. These new methane regulations can be an initial step toward setting and achieving an ambitious cap on overall greenhouse gas emissions from the oil and gas sector, on the path to a full, fast and fair phaseout of fossil fuels. Given the consistent evidence of industry under-reporting methane emissions, it will be key to have independent monitoring and testing to ensure companies meet their obligations.”

Liz McDowell, Senior Campaigns Director, Stand.earth:

“We welcome today’s announcement to significantly reduce pollution from methane, which is 86 times more potent than carbon dioxide when it comes to warming our planet. While the best way to cut methane is to transition off fossil fuels and ramp up renewable energy, reducing methane emissions from the oil and gas sector is an essential first step to meet our climate goals.”

Dr. Joe Vipond, emergency doctor and past-president, Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment:

“As a physician who cares about air pollution, and a father who cares about the future climate, I’m excited to hear about further ratcheting down of methane emissions. This will be a key element in avoiding surpassing our 1.5 C global temperature limit, along with the radical decarbonisation of our economy that is also required.”

Alan Andrews, Climate Director, Ecojustice:

“This announcement is an important step in tackling dangerous emissions from the oil and gas sector. We are looking forward to further announcements this week that will show that Canada has a credible plan to meet its climate targets.

“We are pleased to see progress towards requiring independent oversight. Chronic underreporting of emissions by industry has shown they can’t be trusted to mark their own homework. We now need to see the process move forward quickly with regulations in force by no later than 2025.”

Andréanne Brazeau, Climate policy analyst, Équiterre:

“If you want to reduce a portion of your emissions quickly and easily, tackling methane, a greenhouse gas 80 times more potent than CO2, is an obvious option. Équiterre welcomes the regulations introduced by the Canadian government today. I can happily say that the announcement is an ambitious one. Our team will of course be watching closely to ensure that the regulations are implemented rapidly and that they are strongly enforced to reign in the delinquent oil and gas companies, Canada’s largest methane emitters.”

Andrea Koehle Jones, Executive Director, The ChariTree Foundation:

“Every child deserves access to clean air and a healthy climate. The unborn baby and young child, especially those from low-income families, are at the greatest risk when it comes to the impacts of harmful air pollutants and the changing climate. The ChariTree Foundation is encouraged that Canada will be at the forefront of tackling methane pollution. Naturally, the most effective solution to reduce methane pollution is to phase out dependency on fossil fuels within a clear timeframe.”