B.C. To Start Consultation On Oil And Gas Emissions Cap

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The B.C. government in April will begin consultation on its plan for a cap on oil and gas sector emissions.

The announcement was part of the government’s “energy action framework” announced on Tuesday.

In March 2021, B.C. set sectoral targets covering emissions across the economy. The oil and gas industry is currently responsible for around 50 per cent of industrial emissions and 20 per cent of B.C.’s total emissions, said the government.

The sectoral target for the oil and gas industry aims to reduce emissions 33 per cent to 38 per cent below 2007 levels by 2030. The CleanBC Roadmap to 2030 committed that the province would implement policies and programs to ensure the oil and gas sector meets its sectoral targets.

The province has legislative authority under the Greenhouse Gas Industrial Reporting and Control Act to regulate emissions from industry.

“Starting in April, the province will launch engagements with First Nations, industry, labour, environmental organizations, local governments and other stakeholders on the final design of the regulatory cap on oil and gas sector emissions, including on issues like how the cap will be allocated, credit trading, and verifiable offsets,” said the provincial government. “Consultations will be complete before the end of the year and the province intends to implement the regulatory cap as soon as possible to provide the public and industry with certainty.

“The federal government has also committed to implementing a nationwide cap on oil and gas sector emissions as part of Canada’s climate plan.”

A spokesperson for the B.C. Ministry of Environment said details on the cap will be determined following engagement with First Nations, industry, environmental groups and others this spring.

He said it would align with and complement the federal proposal, and will build on the province’s CleanBC plan to create a clean economy that works for people, respects First Nations and benefits the climate.

‘Credible plan’ on LNG net zero will be required

Under the province’s framework, proposed LNG facilities in B.C. will be required to have a “credible plan” to achieve net-zero emissions by 2030 in order to proceed through the environmental assessment process.

This may involve adopting best-in-class technology to reduce emissions as much as possible and offsetting their remaining emissions through high-quality, verified carbon offset projects.

“This new requirement will help ensure that proposed LNG facilities meet the province’s condition that LNG development fits within B.C.’s legislated climate targets,” said the government.

Framework at a glance

  • require all proposed LNG facilities in or entering the environmental assessment (EA) process to pass an emissions test with a credible plan to be net zero by 2030;
  • put in place a regulatory emissions cap for the oil and gas industry to ensure B.C. meets its 2030 emissions-reduction target for the sector;
  • establish a clean-energy and major projects office to fast-track investment in clean energy and technology and create good, sustainable jobs in the transition to a cleaner economy; and
  • create a BC Hydro task force to accelerate the electrification of B.C.’s economy by powering more homes, businesses and industries with renewable electricity.

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