What to know as Canada’s oil and gas emissions cap is coming

Emissions Cap Framework is Coming 

Ottawa is planning to release an oil and gas emissions cap framework. Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault, at COP28 in Dubai, suggested it might be presented shortly after the conference.

Legal Setbacks Cause Delay

Recent legal rulings, including a Supreme Court decision on environmental impact assessment and a Federal Court ruling on plastics, have compelled the government to ensure that the emissions cap tackles pollution without infringing on provincial jurisdiction.

Canada Falling Short on Emission Targets

The federal government’s own emissions modelling and independent forecasts indicate that Canada is not on track to meet its emissions reduction targets. Emissions from the oil and gas industry have increased despite reductions in other sectors.

Need for Emissions Cap

The Canadian Climate Institute emphasizes the necessity of an emissions cap for the oil and gas sector to achieve the country’s climate targets. Combining the cap with strengthened methane regulations could help reach the 2030 goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40%.

Strengthened Methane Regulations Expected

Guilbeault hinted at the release of strengthened methane regulations at COP28. Methane, a potent greenhouse gas, is a crucial target for emission reduction.

Industry Support with Conditions

The Pathways Alliance, representing major oilsands companies, doesn’t oppose an emissions cap but raises concerns about its restrictiveness affecting industry growth. The federal government aims for a 42% emissions cut in the oil and gas sector by 2030, which Pathways Alliance considers challenging.

Political and Industry Opposition

Alberta’s Premier Danielle Smith and the federal Conservative Party oppose Ottawa-imposed oil and gas emissions caps. Alberta’s government is firm in its opposition to arbitrary emissions caps, emphasizing concerns about potential negative impacts on jobs and investment.

Cap Framework Details

The emissions cap framework will offer a clear outline of the government’s climate policy and describe the enforcement mechanism for compliance. It may involve a cap-and-trade system or a higher carbon price for producers.

Timeframe for Cap Implementation

The cap is crucial for meeting emissions targets, and its implementation should follow the framework’s release promptly. The draft regulations are expected in the new year or as soon as possible, according to Guilbeault.

Summary 

Canada is awaiting the release of the oil and gas emissions cap framework, expected to address legal concerns and provide a strategy to meet climate targets. 

Despite opposition from Alberta’s government and the federal Conservative Party, the government is considering a cap-and-trade system or higher carbon pricing as enforcement mechanisms. 

Strengthened methane regulations and industry cooperation are seen as key elements in achieving emission reduction goals. 

The timing and effectiveness of the framework and subsequent regulations will play a crucial role in Canada’s efforts to combat climate change.

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