Canadian Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna has announced proposals that would see methane emissions from the oil and gas industry in Canada formerly regulated, according to recent reports.
If enacted, these regulations would stand in stark contrast with the Trump Administration’s efforts in the US to undo methane regulations previously written by the Obama Administration (while not perfect by any means, it is one of the solid actions taken by that administration to reduce emissions).
As a reminder of why this matters, methane (more or less “natural gas”) is an extremely potent but short-lived greenhouse gas (~20 years, in that context), but methane emissions from the oil and gas industry aren’t regulated in Canada to any real degree, and seem to be vastly underestimated.
According to the minister, the US states of California, Colorado, and North Dakota, are viewed as being examples of where the Canadian government wants to go with methane regulation.
“By better detecting and patching leaks, companies will be able to save and sell that natural gas and do their part to fight climate change. And this will support more modern technology and good new jobs in the oil and gas sector,” commented McKenna. “Our government knows that, through innovation and technology, we can reduce emissions while improving the health of Canadians.”
Here’s more on the news: “The rules target methane leaks in the drilling process, leaks from equipment, venting unused gas at wells and at compressor stations, among other places. They came about in part due to an agreement Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made last year with Obama to cut down on methane on both sides of the border. The US approach included drilling rules by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Bureau of Land Management, new standards for methane emissions from landfills, and more.”
As noted above, though, the Trump Administration is currently working to repeal or water down the approach discussed above. How successful this will ultimately be will depend upon a lot of things that are hard to know for sure at this point. The next mid-term election cycle should provide observers with something solid to go on, though.
Image by Leonid Ikan via Earthjustice