Methane is responsible for around 30 percent of the global rise in temperatures to date and half a million premature deaths globally each year. It also accounts for about 13 percent of Canada’s total greenhouse gas emissions. Slashing emissions from methane is one of the fastest and lowest cost ways to fight climate change and is one of the top recommendations made by climate scientists in the most recent report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
During today’s Global Methane Pledge Ministerial Meeting, co-chaired by the United States and the European Union, the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, announced Canada’s support for the Global Methane Pledge, which aims to reduce global methane emissions by 30 percent below 2020 levels by 2030. In support of the Pledge and the goals in Canada’s climate plan, Minister Wilkinson also announced Canada’s commitment to developing a plan to reduce methane emissions across the broader Canadian economy and to reducing oil and gas methane emissions by at least 75 percent below 2012 levels by 2030. Canada is the first and only country to support the Pledge and the 75 percent goal, and our approach will include regulations. Moving forward, Canada will mobilize and work with the energy sector, provinces, territories, Indigenous Peoples, and other stakeholders in developing our approach.
The International Energy Agency has made it clear that curbing methane emissions from oil and gas operations represents one of the best near-term opportunities for limiting the worst impacts of climate change and has called on countries and companies to reduce methane emissions from the sector by 75% below 2012 levels by 2030. At the Meeting, the Minister noted the importance of the 75% goal and called on other oil-producing nations to join Canada in adopting it.
The commitments announced today build on Canada’s existing actions to curb methane emissions. In 2016, Canada set a target of reducing methane emissions from the oil and gas sector by 40–45 percent below 2012 levels by 2025 and has put in place regulations to help achieve it, making it one of the first countries in the world to regulate methane emissions from the oil and gas sector at the national level. Achieving this 2025 goal is an important part of the Government’s efforts to meet its new Nationally Determined Contribution of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 40–45 percent by 2030. Last year, the Government also launched the Emissions Reduction Fund, which will, in part, achieve methane reductions beyond those prescribed in the federal regulations.
Globally, agriculture and landfills are among the largest sources of methane emissions. The 2030 objective in the Pledge is expected to help prevent over 20 million tonnes of crop losses a year by 2030 by reducing ground-level ozone pollution, caused in part by methane. The Government of Canada is committed to supporting Canadian farmers and industry partners who are taking action to reduce emissions, sequester carbon and make their operations more sustainable, productive and competitive. This includes through investments in new programs, such as the Agricultural Climate Solutions initiative and the Agricultural Clean Technology Program, which aim to help farmers adopt new, beneficial management practices and clean technologies to boost productivity and lower emissions—including from methane. The Government is also committed to developing an approach to increase the number of landfills that collect and treat methane, and ensure existing systems capture as many methane emissions as possible.
Internationally, Canada has played a leading role and is an active participant in global initiatives to reduce methane emissions, including as Chair of the Global Methane Initiative, and as a founding partner in the Climate and Clean Air Coalition and the Arctic Council. Moving forward, Canada will work with the United States, the European Union, and other early supporters of the Global Methane Pledge to encourage additional countries to support the Pledge and commit to ambitious action on methane. The Government will also continue to encourage other oil-producing nations to commit to its 2030 goal of reducing methane emissions from oil and gas by 75 percent below 2012 levels, and will work with partners to deliver on its existing and new commitments to slash methane emissions and fight climate change.
“This is a critical year for climate action and Canada is proud to be among the early supporters of the Global Methane Pledge, a critical initiative that will increase global action to fight climate change. Climate change is accelerating, and Canadians expect ambitious action to address it. That means doing the hard work at home to set ambitious goals and develop concrete plans to get there. It also means working with international partners to increase the scope and scale of climate action around the world. Today’s announcement, coupled with Canada’s existing efforts to slash methane emissions and fight climate change, will bring us another step closer to securing a healthier planet and economy for decades to come.”
– The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Environment and Climate Change
“Combatting climate change means tackling methane, and that’s what the Global Methane Pledge does. Canada’s oil and gas workers have the skills, ingenuity and determination to get it done, so we’re working with the provinces and territories to put those workers front and centre. They’re the ones who’ll get the job done.”
– The Honourable Seamus O’Regan Jr., Minister of Natural Resources
“A healthy environment goes hand-in-hand with a sustainable agriculture sector that continues to provide good jobs and healthy food for Canadians. Canada’s farmers and ranchers are good stewards of the land, and have made significant progress increasing production while lowering methane emissions. Our government will continue to help farmers adopt agricultural management practices and clean technologies to support sustainability and reduce emissions.”
– The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food