What are Carbon Offsets?

A carbon offset is a reduction or removal of emissions of carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gases made, including methane, in order to compensate for emissions made elsewhere. A carbon credit or offset credit is a transferrable financial instrument (derived from an underlying commodity) certified by governments or independent certification bodies to represent an emission reduction that can then be bought or sold.

Both offsets and credits are measured in tonnes of carbon dioxide-equivalent (CO2e). One carbon offset or credit represents the reduction or removal of one ton of carbon dioxide or its equivalent in other greenhouse gases.

Reducing Methane Emissions

Reducing methane emissions is a cost-effective way to lower greenhouse gas emissions. The climate change impact of methane is significant -- 28 times greater than carbon dioxide over a 100-year period.

In Alberta, the oil and gas industry is the largest source of methane emissions. Approximately 75% of provincial methane emissions come from the upstream oil and gas sector.

Alberta has set a methane reduction target of 45% by 2025 and employs a combination of policy tools to achieve this target, including regulatory requirements, market-based programs, and investments in technology and innovation.

Regulations and Protocols

Alberta is on track to meet its methane emissions reduction target by 2025 according to the 2021 Annual Information Report which shows that oil and gas methane emissions decreased by 44% between 2014 and 2021.