Canada & U.S. to Cut Methane Emissions

CBJ — Canada and the United States have agreed to cut methane gas emissions from the oil and gas industry in an effort to battle climate change.

The agreement came prior to an Oval Office meeting between Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and President Barack Obama at the White House.

The two countries are seeking to improve co-operation on energy after Obama last year rejected the Keystone XL crude oil pipeline project aimed at bringing heavy Canadian oil to the United States which was promoted by Trudeau’s predecessor, Stephen Harper.

The countries committed to cutting emissions of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, by 40 to 45% below 2012 levels by 2025, to take steps to fight climate change in the Arctic, and to speed development of green technologies. The Globe and Mail first reported details of the deal on Tuesday.

Under the agreement, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will begin developing regulations for methane emissions from existing oil and gas sources immediately and “will move as expeditiously as possible to complete this process.”

Meanwhile, Environment and Climate Change Canada “intends to publish an initial phase of proposed regulations by early 2017,” and put in place national regulations in collaboration with provinces, territories, and indigenous groups.

After the U.S. Supreme Court last month ruled to delay implementation of Obama’s Clean Power Plan on fighting emissions from power plants, moving ahead on cutting methane emissions could help Washington meet its pledges at last year’s global talks on climate in Paris. Obama has said he believes that plan is on secure legal grounds.

The United States and Canada also agreed on Thursday to work together to implement the Paris agreement and sign it “as soon as feasible.”