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Canada's proposal to cut methane emissions by 75% 'dangerous and unconstitutional': Alta. premier

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Canada is aiming to cut methane emissions from the oil and gas sector by at least 75 per cent over the next six years, but the Alberta government said the rules would be “dangerous and unconstitutional.”

The announcement of the proposed regulations was announced Monday morning by Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault at COP28 in Dubai.

"Lowering methane emissions from our oil and gas sector is one of the fastest and most cost-effective ways we can cut the pollution that is fueling climate change," Guilbeault said.

Alberta's premier and environment minister, who are also in Dubai at COP28, slammed the federal announcement.

Alberta's own methane target was to reduce emissions by 45 per cent from 2014 levels. A report from the Alberta Energy Regulator shows the province achieved that goal in 2022, the province said.

"Instead of building on Alberta’s award-winning approach, Ottawa wants to replace it with costly, dangerous and unconstitutional new federal regulations," reads part of the joint statement from Premier Danielle Smith and Environment Minister Rebecca Schulz.

Ottawa's new proposed targets are "illegal" and "unrealistic," the statement says.

“Given the unconstitutional nature of this latest federal intrusion into our provincial jurisdiction, our government will use every tool at our disposal to ensure these absurd federal regulations are never implemented in our province," it concludes.

A federal review found in 2021 that Canada was on track to hit its current regulatory target of cutting methane output from oil and gas by 40 to 45 per cent by 2025, but more recent reports suggest methane leaks and releases are not well-documented.

In its effort to reduce methane emissions by 75 per cent of its 2012 levels by 2030, the Canadian government will invest $30 million to try to improve emissions measurements and data.

Methane doesn't stay in the atmosphere as long as carbon dioxide, but it is better at trapping heat, so cutting methane emissions is considered one of the most effective ways of reducing global warming.

With files from The Canadian Press

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