The United States and Canada agree on joint steps to fight climate change, including cutting methane emissions from oil and gas operations. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (no reporter narration) STORY: The United States and Canada agreed joint steps on Thursday to fight climate change, including cutting methane emissions from oil and gas operations and signing last year's Paris climate deal "as soon as feasible." The agreement was announced as Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and President Barack Obama met at the White House. Methane, which can leak from pipelines and valves, is a powerful greenhouse gas, with up to 80 times the potential of carbon dioxide to trap the planet's heat. The agreement can do "even more to protect our countries and our communities, especially in the Arctic, from climate change," Obama said during a welcoming ceremony for Trudeau. The two countries are seeking to improve relations after Obama last year rejected the Keystone XL pipeline, which was aimed at transporting heavy Canadian oil to the United States. Environmentalists had long opposed the project, which had been under review by Washington for years. Trudeau, a Liberal, had expressed qualified support for Keystone in his campaign. The project had been heavily promoted by his predecessor, Stephen Harper, a Conservative from Alberta's oil patch. On Thursday, the two countries committed to cutting emissions of methane by 40 to 45 percent below 2012 levels by 2025, to take steps to fight climate change in the Arctic, and to speed development of green technologies. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will begin developing regulations for methane emissions from existing oil and gas sources immediately and "will move as expeditiously as possible to complete this process," the joint agreement said. The EPA will start by collecting emissions data from oil and gas companies before embarking on a rulemaking process. "The new data show that methane emissions are substantially higher than we previously understood. So, it's time to take a closer look at regulating existing sources of methane emissions," EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said in blog post. Meanwhile, Environment and Climate Change Canada "intends to publish an initial phase of proposed regulations by early 2017," and put in place national regulations in collaboration with provinces, territories, and indigenous groups.