September 30, 2019

Regulating Methane Emissions Will Keep Canada’s Oil and Gas Sector Competitive, Not Hurt It

Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions

Canadian governments are making good on a 2016 pledge to cut oil-and-gas-sector methane emissions by 40 to 45 percent below 2012 levels by 2025. Since the pledge, both Alberta and the federal government have issued rules on reducing leaks of methane, which is many times as potent a heat trapper as carbon dioxide, and both are slated to go into effect next year.

In recent weeks, however, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has proposed relaxing regulation of oil-and-gas-sector methane emissions, sparking debate about whether new tougher emissions rules will make Canada uncompetitive in attracting oil and gas investment.

Regulating methane emissions will not only support the future competitiveness of the Canadian oil and gas sector but it will also provide real societal benefits and economic value, write Sarah Marie Jordaan, assistant professor at Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies, and Kate Konschnik, director of the Climate and Energy Program at Duke University's Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions. In an op-ed for The Globe and Mail, Jordaan and Konschnik say methane emissions across the oil and gas value chain must be understood, managed, and become a cornerstone of Canadian climate policy and emissions regulation.