Alberta Shows Climate Leadership on Methane as Part of New Climate Plan

November 22, 2015
Kirk Heuser, 587-585-4522
Lauren Whittenberg, 512-691-3437,
Faye Roberts, 647-924-4454

Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), a leading global non-profit organization based in the U.S., and the Pembina Institute, Canada’s leading clean energy think tank, welcomed today’s release by the Province of Alberta of an ambitious target for methane reductions from the oil and gas industry. A significant element of Alberta’s climate change strategy announced today is the establishment of a firm target for the reduction of oil and gas methane emissions by 45 per cent by 2025.

“The methane reduction target for the upstream oil and gas industry positions Alberta as a leader among fossil fuel producing jurisdictions worldwide on this critical issue,” said Ed Whittingham, executive director of the Pembina Institute. “It makes sense to focus on the biggest sources of greenhouse gas pollution in this sector – methane – because it offers the biggest reduction per dollar and the goal is achievable using technology and practices that are commercially available today.”

“Alberta’s methane reduction goal sets the stage for a major win for Canada and the global environment,” said Fred Krupp, Environmental Defense Fund president. “Leading oil-and-gas nations, including Canada, can have an immediate impact on the degree of warming our planet is facing right now. But regulations of new and existing sources are critical and feasible to achieve this goal. We will continue to push for the immediate regulation of these sources working with the Government of Alberta and other stakeholders.”

EDF and the Pembina Institute recently released an independent analysis undertaken by ICF International (ICF), a leading energy industry research firm, which showed that Canada’s oil and gas emissions can be reduced by 45 per cent below projected 2020 levels, very cost-effectively all while using existing and readily available technologies. Achieving this 45 per cent methane reduction across Canada would be the equivalent of eliminating 27 million metric tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions, providing the same climate benefit as taking every passenger car off the road in British Columbia and Alberta according to data from Statistics Canada and Canada’s National Inventory Report. In the case of Alberta, the report indicated that upstream methane emissions could be reduced by 45% for C$2.57 per metric tonne of CO2.

Why Methane Matters

Natural gas is over 95 percent methane and is a potent greenhouse gas contributing to climate change, because its short-term impact is many times greater than carbon dioxide. According to data from Canada’s greenhouse gas inventory, oil and gas methane emissions are one of Canada’s largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions and are almost double the size of the next largest source of methane in Canada.

On a global basis, action on methane is also a priority. At a recent International Energy Agency (IEA) meeting, oil and gas methane emission reductions were identified in the Ministerial Statement on Energy and Climate Changeas one of five key actions needed to see global greenhouse gas emissions peak in 2020 and trend downwards thereafter. The IEA characterized oil and gas methane emissions as a huge “missed opportunity” unless policy makers take action. Further, IEA recommended policy makers set oil and gas methane reduction goals and develop the regulations required to ensure those goals are met.

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The Pembina Institute is a national non-partisan think tank that advocates for strong, effective policies to support Canada’s transition to clean energy. Learn more at