Regulating methane is a no-brainer to curb oil and gas emissions

4 December 2023, OTTAWA — Anna Kanduth, Director of 440 Megatonnes, a project of the Canadian Climate Institute, made the following statement in response to Canada’s announcement of draft regulations to reduce methane emissions from the upstream oil and gas sector by 75 per cent below 2012 levels by 2030:

“Reducing methane is an absolute no-brainer in Canada’s fight against climate change. Tough regulations to limit potent methane pollution are widely considered to be the cheapest and easiest way to slash Canada’s oil and gas emissions. 

Our research has shown that cutting methane emissions 75 per cent below 2012 levels by 2030 would get the oil and gas industry at least a third of the way to the emissions projection outlined in the federal Emissions Reduction Plan—making it easier and cheaper for industry to comply with an oil and gas emissions cap. We urge the federal government to move swiftly to finalize these regulations, to accelerate the fight against climate change while helping Canada’s economy compete in global markets rapidly shifting toward lower-carbon products.

“Reducing methane from fossil fuel operations 75 per cent by 2030 is one of three critical actions the International Energy Agency identified to align the global energy sector with the 1.5℃ goal—and an important measure for the global community to support at COP28. As one of the more than 150 countries that signed a Global Methane Pledge in 2021, Canada is in good company tackling methane. Ramping up ambition on methane alongside major international partners, like the U.S., is good for climate action, cross-border collaboration, and Canada’s economic competitiveness. 

“Achieving a 75 per cent reduction in methane by 2030 is increasingly seen as a floor, not a ceiling, of what’s possible. The federal government has already committed to exceeding this target, and some of the world’s largest oil and gas companies are aiming for near-zero methane by 2030. British Columbia has committed to eliminate nearly all industrial methane by 2035 and Alberta is looking at ways to reach up to 80 per cent by 2030. 

“The newly announced Methane Centre of Excellence is a critical step forward and will help improve the way methane emissions are measured. Industry has made promising strides to reduce methane in the past decade; yet it’s hard to credibly assess how well those efforts are working when research continues to show that actual methane levels are much higher than current estimates

“While methane regulations will make a big impact, they won’t singlehandedly bring emissions from oil and gas in line with Canada’s climate goals. That’s why further action—namely, a strong cap on oil and gas emissions—is necessary. Oil and gas is the biggest and fastest-growing contributor to Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions. While some other heavy-emitting sectors are successfully reducing their share, oil and gas emissions just keep rising—putting Canada’s climate targets further from reach, making industry less competitive, and contributing to worsening climate damages and skyrocketing costs for Canadians.”


Catharine Tunnacliffe
Communications Director
Canadian Climate Institute
(226) 212-9883