Coal Energy Sector Methane Emissions Show Opportunity for Canadian LNG

Global Coal Methane Emissions Higher than Natural Gas REPORT cover

While some environmentalists push a false narrative that Canadian liquefied natural gas (LNG) isn’t cleaner than coal, a new report by the International Energy Agency (IEA) shows that coal use for energy production currently emits much higher volumes of methane than its lower-emission counterpart.

The IEA’s Global Methane Tracker 2024 shows that in 2023, the global energy sector saw coal emit 40 million tonnes (Mt) of methane. Natural gas emitted 29 Mt, about 28 per cent less than coal.

methane emissions from energy, 2000-2023 - IEA

Methane emissions from energy, 2000-2023 - IEA

Methane emissions from the oil and natural gas sector vary widely, says the IEA.

Canada has relatively low methane emission intensities, scoring better than other major energy producers including Saudi Arabia, Russia, China, Iran, Algeria, Turkmenistan, Venezuela, and the United States.

Norway and the Netherlands are said to have the lowest intensities globally. Meanwhile, China stands as the world’s largest emitter in the coal sector.

Natural wetlands are the largest contributor to global methane emissions, as seen below.

Sources of global methane emissions, 2023 - IEA

Sources of methane emissions, 2023 - IEA

Canada’s Methane Track Record

The world will need to reduce methane emissions by 75 per cent by 2030 if it plans on limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, according to the IEA.

Canada, a global leader in environmental protection, has a proven track record on reducing methane flaring and venting. For example, did you know that:

> Canada was the first country in the world to set a target of reducing oil and natural gas methane emissions by at least 75% from 2020 levels by 2030 [1]

> Alberta, Canada’s largest oil and second-largest natural gas-producing province, reduced methane emissions from the energy sector by 45% since 2014, three years ahead of schedule [2]

> From 2000 to 2018, Canada was one of only five countries where the oil and gas sector reduced methane emissions, which fell 16%, even as domestic oil production grew by 91% between 2000-2018 [3]

> Emissions from oil and gas flaring in Canada dropped 48% between 2014 and 2021, even as the country’s oil production grew 9% and natural gas production increased by 16% over the same period [3]

> Canada is one of the lowest gas-flaring countries, despite being one of the world’s top oil and natural gas producers

Displacing Asian Coal with Canadian LNG

displacing coal power in Asia with Canadian LNG could reduce global emissions equivalent to removing 41 million cars off the world's roads

Several studies show how Canadian LNG can play a role in reducing global emissions. Not only will Canada’s export facilities offer some of the lowest carbon LNG to the world, but they are also ideally positioned with short shipping distances (10 days) to Asian markets versus the U.S. Gulf Coast and other suppliers abroad, which means less emissions from transportation. For example:

> The Canadian Chamber of Commerce says that displacing just 20% of Asia’s coal-fired power plants could save a Canada’s worth of emissions.

> Wood Mackenzie says that sending responsibly produced Canadian LNG to Asia to displace coal could have an effect equivalent to removing 41 million cars off the road – or all cars in Canada.

> Independent life-cycle analyses by research groups at three major universities found that Canadian LNG to Asia to displace coal power and heat generation could reduce emissions by up to 62%

> An academic study in Environmental Science & Technology found that significant emission reductions could be achieved in parts of Asia when displacing coal-fired electricity generation with Canadian natural gas.

The World Needs More Canadian LNG

I support Canadian LNG banner

The IEA’s latest methane tracker report has found that coal methane emissions are significantly higher than those from natural gas in the global energy sector.

Evidence shows that the world could reduce emissions by displacing coal power abroad with natural gas. Canada’s exemplary record on methane flaring reductions and responsible energy production indicate that it is an ideal choice of supply to fulfill growing global energy demand.

As long as the world needs natural gas, it should come from producers like Canada with world-class protections for human rights AND the environment.

Don’t you agree?


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