Dave Risk has spent a lot of time hunting down methane, a colourless and odourless gas that’s notoriously difficult to sniff out. Methane is a particularly damaging greenhouse gas that forms 13 per cent of Canada’s total emissions, and the federal government has a multi-million dollar plan to reduce methane emissions to help meet its climate targets.
Risk heads the FluxLab at St. Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia, and his team of researchers drive out to thousands of oil and gas sites in Western Canada to measure methane at the source.
It’s difficult work; researchers sometimes put in 12 hour days, driving all day to visit numerous remote sites. They have to spend weeks in the field, visiting each site multiple times to collect measurements. The idea is to get a more accurate picture of how much methane Canada is emitting — which is likely much more than the government’s official estimates.