Canada's chemical sector maintains downward trend in emissions as production rises over 12-year periodSince 1992, member companies of the Canadian Chemical Producers' Association (CCPA) have reduced their emissions to air, water and land by a total of 78%, or 205,000 tonnes, according to figures in the association's just-released 12th Reducing Emissions report. The overall reduction includes a 23% decrease in total emissions between 2002 and 2003. Emissions per unit of production have declined by as much as 83% since 1992, based on members' total production, and are expected to have dropped by 84% per unit of output by 2008.
The report points out that the continued decline in emissions has been achieved in the context of substantial increases in production: although chemical production in 2003 by CCPA member companies dropped slightly (by 2%) from 2002 levels, it was still 26% higher than in 1992.
One of the most significant achievements over the past 12 years has been the virtual elimination of emissions to water: these totalled 471 tonnes in 2003, representing a decrease of 99.6% since 1992. Releases of metals to water were 9% lower in 2003 than in 2002, while releases of sulfuric acid to water have been nearly eliminated, a reduction of more than 115,000 tonnes since 1992.
Emissions to air now make up 99% of all national emissions, excluding carbon dioxide (CO2). Nitrogen oxides (NOX), sulfur oxides (SOX) and carbon monoxide (CO) accounted for up two-thirds of the total air emissions in 2003, which dropped by 16,100 tonnes; this represents a 25% decrease from 2002 and a 56% decrease from 1992. NOX, SOX and CO emissions have declined by 34% since 1992; almost all emissions of these large-volume substances are related to the operation of certain chemical processes and the burning of fossil fuels for energy.
CO2 emissions from CCPA company facilities dropped by 7% in 2003 from 2002 levels; this is 1% higher than in 1992. Nearly all of this reduction is attributed to companies which no longer reported in 2003 as a result of changes in membership or facility ownership. Measured in terms of global warming potential, member companies' greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions - including carbon dioxide - are projected to decline by 36% from 1992 levels by 2008. In terms of emissions per unit of output, member companies' GHG emissions are down by 53% since 1992, reflecting improved energy efficiency and changes in the energy intensity of their operations. In per-unit terms, the global warming potential of members' GHG emissions is projected to decline by 51% by 2008.
Other reductions achieved in 2003 included:
emissions of known and probable carcinogens to air, water and land, which declined by 18% from 2002 levels, for a total reduction of 82% since 1992;
emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) to all media, down 19% from 2002 and 67% since 1992; and
emissions of ozone-depleting substances (ODS), which decreased by three tonnes, or 1%, from 2002 levels, for a total decline of 57% since 1992. Releases of specific ODS including CFCs and HCFCs (the leading CFC substitute) have dropped by 99% and 39%, respectively, since 1992.
CCPA has published its Reducing Emissions reports since 1992 in accordance with the formal emissions reporting component of its Responsible Care(r) program. This provides the public access to information about emissions from the Canadian chemical industry as it pertains to CCPA's 65 member companies. In 2003, 61 companies reported emissions from 138 facilities, compared to 66 cmopanies and 146 facilities in 2002. In 2003, there were 676 substances on the CCPA reporting list, including the 323 substances for which reporting is required under Environment Canada's National Pollutant Release Inventory (NPRI)
More information is available from Michael Bourque or Bruce Caswell at the CCPA, 613/237-6215. The 2003
Reducing Emissions Report may also be viewed on the CCPA Web site, www.ccpa.ca.