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    Canada on track to meet 2025 methane reduction target

Summary

Consultations set to begin on framework for achieving a 75% reduction by 2030

by: Dale Lunan

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Canada on track to meet 2025 methane reduction target

Canada is on track to meet its commitment to reduce methane emissions from the oil and gas sector by 40-45% by 2025, environment and climate change minister Steven Guilbeault said December 21, and is set to launch consultations early in 2022 on new regulations that will increase those reductions to 75% by 2030.

Current federal methane emissions regulations and equivalency agreements with Alberta, Saskatchewan and BC are expected to generate about 10mn mt/year of CO2-equivalent (CO2-e) emission reductions in 2025, representing a 39% reduction in methane emissions compared to 2012. Complementary initiatives such as funding programmes at the federal, provincial and private sector level will achieve additional reductions, bringing the total expected reductions by 2025 into the 40–45% range, Guilbeault said.

“Tackling methane emissions from the oil and gas sector is one of the lowest-cost emissions reduction opportunities in Canada, and one of the most important things we can do to limit climate warming over the next decade,” he said. “New methodologies and data will inform our continued progress towards our 2025 target.”

Among those measures is a re-focusing of the federal Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF), which was launched in 2020 in response to the economic downturn forced on the oil and gas sector by the Covid-19 pandemic. The onshore portion of the programme has already approved C$134mn (US$104mn) in funding to support 81 projects that are expected to reduce CO2-e emissions by 4.6mn mt in the first year following project completion.

To support Ottawa’s target of reducing methane emissions by 75% by 2030, the ERF Onshore Programme will be re-focused by narrowing the scope of funded projects to only those that “fully eliminate intentional routine venting and flaring of methane” and by strengthening criteria to ensure funding only for projects with the greatest return on investment from an emissions reduction perspective.

The changes will take effect with the start of the third ERF intake period, which will open in January 2022 and remain open until the end of March 2022.

“These changes to the third intake of the ERF Onshore Programme will ensure our government is investing in high-impact projects aimed at delivering additional emissions reductions sooner than through regulation, while investing in infrastructure that supports Canada’s climate targets,” federal natural resources minister Jonathan Wilkinson said.