Justin Trudeau, the prime minister of Canada, visited the White House last week and the issue at hand was climate change. Trudeau and Obama are two world leaders that have openly spoke out about the impact carbon and methane emissions have on the environment. In particular, the president of the United States and prime minster addressed the serious impact methane emissions have on the environment. Although most of the discussion on climate change revolves around carbon dioxide emissions, methane emissions are far more dire to the environment since over a 100 year span methane gas is 25 times more effective at trapping heat than the most talked about greenhouse gas: carbon dioxide (Source). With that in mind, both leaders struck a deal that would call on both nations, Canada and the US, to cut their methane emissions by 40-45 percent by the year 2025. This is another step in the right direction to deal with the threat climate change poses to the whole world and it is vital these two countries, especially the US, show they are committed to the cause as most countries perceive the US as the leader of the world. One thing is for sure: the US and Canada cannot act on global warming unless other countries decide to take part as well. This must be considered a global issue, where all countries in the world come together to develop methods of reducing emissions, whether it is methane or carbon dioxide, so the environment can get better along with the health of millions of people. The estimation is, just in the US, if the government ended up cutting emissions by almost 50 percent by 2030 then almost 300,000 premature deaths would be prevented in the process (Source). One could debate that the warming of the Earth is a natural process; however, no one can deny the effect that pollution has on human’s health which is exactly why cutting emissions is extremely difficult but necessary.
Without fail, the Trudeau and Obama announcement did come with widespread scorn from Conservatives and industry. These opponents of climate change have claimed regulating the oil, gas, and natural gas industries will be burdensome to the companies because they will have to purchase more expensive equipment to detect gas leaks. Sandra Snyder, an attorney that represents natural gas producers asserted the new regulations by the president puts more emphasis on more costly technologies to detect methane leaks such as infrared cameras instead of the cheaper method: soap bubbles (Source). On the other hand, Sam Adams, US climate director at the World Resources Institute says Obama’s plan is helpful for business and for the climate.
Adams said: “The oil and gas industry wastes more than 9 million metric tons of methane pollution annually, which is enough to power over 6.5 million homes in one year” following with “Measures to reduce methane leaks from natural gas systems pay for themselves in three years or less” (Source).
If this is the case, and I believe Adams is a credible source, then the gas companies need to put their ego to the side and help the greater cause. These companies are completely petrified of losing any profit; a very important reason why nothing gets done when it comes to climate change. Obama has shown on a regular basis that he is committed to cutting emissions, whether it is his deal recently with Trudeau or the joint deal with China that sets a goal to cut carbon emissions by 1/4 in the next 10 years. The only question is: Will the Conservatives and gas companies ever budge?
Contributed by R.A.