Ottawa, ON – A new report by Environmental Defence shows why strong federal regulations are needed to reduce methane emissions from Canada’s oil and gas sector. The report points to research showing that methane emissions in Alberta are 60 per cent higher than the industry claims, and that there are many health, environmental, and economic benefits to regulating methane across Canada.
Read the report here.
The report also outlines how the energy sector, which accounts for half of Canada’s methane emissions, is actively pushing against regulations that would require existing oil and gas facilities to reduce methane emissions beyond voluntary actions.
“The oil and gas industry is underreporting methane emissions and at the same time lobbying federal and provincial governments to weaken methane regulations,” says Dale Marshall, National Program Manager, Environmental Defence. “Reducing methane emissions is the one measure in the pan-Canadian climate framework that is focused on the oil and gas sector. Yet, the industry is attempting to avoid responsibility and not do its fair share to tackle climate change.”
The report draws on research, including infrared camera footage, commissioned by the Alberta Energy Regulator, which shows that Alberta’s oil and gas facilities have more devices that leak or vent methane than the industry acknowledges. Research also shows that plugging leaks and replacing equipment with devices that do not deliberately vent methane to the atmosphere are some of the lowest cost climate solutions available in Canada.
Regulating methane would provide multiple benefits. The methane that is escaping into thin air every year from devices at Alberta oil and gas facilities alone is worth almost $70 million and would heat 200,000 homes in the province. Regulations that require frequent leak detection and repair would create many good, green jobs and provide governments with greater royalty and tax revenue.
“Regulating methane emissions will reduce pollution, protect health, and save money. The federal government needs to move forward with strong regulations to reduce and eventually eliminate methane emissions due to wasteful practices by much of Canada’s oil and gas industry,” adds Marshall.
Also today, the David Suzuki Foundation released findings from 2015-2016 field research showing that methane emissions in B.C.’s Montney Region are 2.5 times higher than government estimates – making the oil and gas industry the top emitter in the province, surpassing commercial transportation.
About ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENCE (www.environmentaldefence.ca): Environmental Defence is Canada’s most effective environmental action organization. We challenge, and inspire change in government, business and people to ensure a greener, healthier and prosperous life for all.