What a terrible—and confusing—week for those of us who have been fighting for strong climate action. The government caved in to pressure from the provinces on one of the cheapest, easiest climate fixes: strong rules to plug methane leaks from oil and gas companies in Canada.
- Five months ago, ECCC’s model shows that methane regulations in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and BC will not achieve the reduction commitment made by the Prime Minister (neither would the federal regulations they replace);
- And yet, last week ECCC Minister Jonathan Wilkinson signs agreements with those provinces anyway;
- And then Tuesday, ECCC scientists publish research showing oil and gas methane emissions in Alberta and Saskatchewan are almost twice as high as estimates in ECCC’s greenhouse gas inventory for Canada.
I can’t help but wonder. Did Minister Wilkinson know about this study showing sky-high methane emissions, further undermining Canada’s methane reduction commitments, when he signed those provincial agreements? If not, why not? The research was published by scientists in his department.
But it is clear that Minister Wilkinson needs to act now to:
- Use the latest science to update the estimate of methane emissions from oil and gas facilities in Canada
- Fix the ECCC model so that it accurately reflects both methane emissions, and expected reductions from applying different regulations
- Strengthen the federal regulations so they meet the Prime Minister’s 2025 target
- Direct the provinces to match the stronger federal rules if they want their regulations to apply
- Commit to further reductions post-2025
Reducing methane emissions is cheap and easy. It creates jobs. It improves human health. And the International Energy Agency found that 75% of global emissions of methane could be feasibly reduced, with more than half of those reductions happening at no net cost.
The federal government’s weak approach to reducing emissions of a potent greenhouse gas casts further doubt on its commitment to fighting climate change, even while Canadians face mounting climate impacts. Sign this petition demanding that the Prime Minister and Minister Wilkinson act now.