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Ottawa’s Goal: 75% Reduction in Methane Emissions from Oil and Gas Sector by 2030, Says Guilbeault

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Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault states that the government is activating one of the most influential levers it has against climate change by addressing methane emissions.

Mr. Guilbeault from the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) in Dubai has unveiled new draft regulations seeking to speed up the reduction of methane emitted by the oil and gas sector.

The minister recently announced that the new draft regulations aim to reduce methane emissions from Canada’s oil patch by at least 75 percent by 2030.

The federal government published its first methane regulations for the oil and gas sector in 2018, seeking to reduce emissions by up to 45 percent by 2025, based on 2012 levels.

Canada is said to be on track to surpass that goal and is therefore accelerating the emissions reduction pace, in line with a recommendation from the International Energy Agency.

Environment and Climate Change Canada says that oil and gas facilities are the largest industrial methane emitters in the country, releasing about half of total emissions. The department says emissions can occur from normal operation as well as from leaks, hence regulations will be toughened to increase leak monitoring and inspections.

The proper monitoring is essential to reduce methane emissions, and to that end, Mr. Guilbeault has announced the creation of a Methane Centre of Excellence funded with $30 million.

The draft resolutions also require facilities to undergo an annual inspection by a third-party to verify compliance. However, Ms. Smith expressed concern about the federal government establishing the new rules “unilaterally” to “help win international headlines.”

Mr. Guilbeault spoke at a press conference in Dubai alongside other climate change officials, including U.S. envoy John Kerry.

Mr. Kerry said he is getting “more and more militant and more and more frustrated with the business as usual.” In conclusion, tackling methane emissions is seen as the “fastest, simplest, least expensive, most efficient way of being able to rapidly reduce emissions on the planet” and keep it below a certain warming threshold.

Lastly, China has not signed the Global Methane Pledge, though it released a plan in November with no firm targets to tackle those emissions.

The U.S. and China held a summit in late November in the United Arab Emirates, and Mr. Kerry said afterward that Beijing would work to make COP28 negotiations a success.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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