The inaugural Oil and Gas Methane Leadership Awards were awarded to leading government jurisdictions and other entities in recognition of actions taken to reduce harmful methane emissions from the oil and gas sector.
At a ceremony coinciding with the Global Methane Forum, the Center for Clean Air Policy, Clean Air Task Force, Environmental Defence Canada, Environmental Defense Fund and the Pembina Institute recognized four leaders in methane reduction.
“There is growing momentum from national governments, subnational governments, and industry to reduce methane emissions as a way to address greenhouse gas emissions,” says Duncan Kenyon, responsible fossil fuels director at the Pembina Institute. “The award recipients recognized today have demonstrated the potential for significant and cost-effective emission reductions in the oil and gas sector. With the final publication of Canadian federal regulations expected soon — and provincial regulations to follow — Canadian jurisdictions have the opportunity to become global leaders on methane, and help their industry compete in a low-carbon world. We look forward to assessing these regulations to determine whether Canada’s 40-45 per cent target will be met. These actions are critical as the international community strives to meet aggressive goals to limit global temperature increases to well below 2 degrees C.”
The states of California and Colorado received awards for Leadership by a Subnational Government. Colorado was recognized for developing leading methane emissions through a collaborative process with industry and environmental groups, an approach that was later copied by other states including California.
In 2017 California expanded their effective methane regulations to gas distribution and storage facilities — a first of its kind. They are now looking at ways to reduce methane from agriculture and landfills.
Subnational governments such as Colorado and California play a critical role in reducing methane emissions, either by filling gaps in federal regulations or by implementing policies designed to address regional specific issues while still meeting federal environmental outcomes.
Mexico, while still developing their regulations, was recognized as an Emerging Leader for its commitment to reducing methane emissions by 40-45 per cent and the consequent work in developing a sector-wide regulation covering methane emissions across the supply chain.
The Emerging Leader award is designed to acknowledge a country that is in the process of establishing methane regulations and has set goals and timelines for their process. It is about encouraging countries and recognizing the effort needed to issue strong regulations and Mexico has shown exemplary leadership in this regard. In the category of Technology Innovation, the imaging company FLIR was selected for its innovative sensing solutions including cost effective hand-held cameras that can be used by industry to identify and stop fugitive emissions, thereby protecting the environment and saving money. Researchers, governments, and ENGOs have used this technology to identify the source and magnitude of emissions and inform policy development.
The Mexican Vice Minister of the Environmental, Rodolfo Lacy, accepted the award on behalf of Mexico, vowing to continue efforts to design strong standards for the oil and gas sector that will meet their aggressive targets. “Mexico is committed to fulfilling the climate commitments outlined in our Nationally Determined Contribution and other sectoral targets and the planned regulations offer an important down payment towards those goals while ensuring that Mexican citizens benefit from the full value of our resource endowment.”