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In B.C., stricter rules on methane emissions do not ignite debate

Natasha Kumar By Natasha Kumar Dec8,2023

In B.C., stricter rules on methane emissions do not ignite debates

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Near Fort St. John, British Columbia, flaring, the controlled burning of excess gas during gas production, is visible.

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The new rules on methane emissions, announced at the 28th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP28) in Dubai by Federal Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault, are welcomed by environmental groups in British Columbia.

These measures aim to help Canada reduce methane emissions from the oil and gas sector compared to the 2012 level. The target is similar to the province's target of the same reduction, but compared to the 2014 level.

One federal regulation restricts the combustion of methane in the atmosphere, a common practice in the industry. The measures drew strong criticism from Alberta, while British Columbia was more cooperative.

Josie Osborne, provincial minister of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation, declined our request for an interview. However, she indicated by email that she was working with the federal government to adjust regulations and standards for provincial equivalence.

Tom Green, climate strategy analyst at the David Suzuki Foundation, welcomes Ottawa's investment in creating a methane center of excellence, and it highlights the need to better measure industry emissions.

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We know that the data on methane emissions from the gas and oil sector are very poor and that current emissions are much higher than what the industry tells us, explains- he.

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Methane fumes would be underestimated by the provincial government.

Methane, considered 80 times more harmful to the atmosphere than carbon dioxide, is released during oil or gas production. extraction of shale gas, either voluntarily or through fugitive emissions, mainly from equipment.

Some companies capture the methane released when oil is extracted from the ground to sell as natural gas, while others release it into the atmosphere, or burn it; This is called flaring.

Ottawa's proposed amendments prohibit the venting and flaring of gas from gases. hydrocarbons in the environment, except for safety reasons.

All the solutions we need to eliminate this methane, we already have them , says Tom Green.

British Columbia would do better in capturing methane emissions than Alberta and Saskatchewan, according to him. The main reason is that we don't have oil. It's really a lot more gas production, and gas can be sold, so it's a good deal for the companies [to recover it].

However, he deplores British Columbia's ambition to continue developing the liquefied natural gas sector and increase its exports.

L The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) declined to grant us an interview, but responded in writing that it is reviewing the new federal regulations.

An overly complex and prescriptive regulatory framework can lead to delays and higher costs, making it more difficult to quickly implement technologies and processes to reduce emissions, said Lisa Baiton, president and CEO of the #x27;ACPP.

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Gas industry workers in British Columbia.

She believes that provinces and regulators are better placed than the federal government to implement methane reduction plans.

With information from Panorama

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Natasha Kumar

By Natasha Kumar

Natasha Kumar has been a reporter on the news desk since 2018. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Times Hub, Natasha Kumar worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my 1-800-268-7116

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