Two steps to reduce methane emissions
The United States, Mexico and Canada pledged in 2016 to reduce methane emissions in their oil and gas industries. Although the pledges don't include the process to meet the targets, they are an acknowledgement that joint effort is required to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Two researchers published an article in the Climate Policy journal outlining two proposed steps for Canada, Mexico and the United States to meet the targets:
- Methane emission sources and the amounts must be characterized and estimated.
- Implement policies that are science-based and economically sound.
The first steps is to understand the amount of methane that is being released from oil and gas sources and understanding where it comes from. Both questions are currently difficult to answer.
"Reliable inventories remain elusive; despite public and private research efforts, the magnitude of methane emissions remains disputed," reads the article.
After methane emissions are understood and measured, effective policies are the next step to realizing reduction. The proposed methane regulations from the Canada and Alberta governments are both individual policy pieces in the larger picture, but both important components to meet international goals.