July 10, 2006

Survey details 2004 GHG releases from major emitters at the facility level

The results of a survey of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from major emitters at the facility level during 2004 have been released by Statistics Canada, which conducted the survey on behalf of Environment Canada and Alberta Environment. The national report details facility-specific emissions from Canada's major GHG emitters, i.e. the more than 300 industrial facilities whose GHG emissions were the equivalent of 100 kilotonnes (kt) or more of carbon dioxide in 2004.

A separate report from Alberta Environment provides a comparison between 2004 and 2003 data for the 99 major emitters located in Alberta. The province initiated GHG reporting from its large emitters starting in 2003 and uses the national reporting system to gather its data.

The new, more detailed data show each facility's emissions of the specific GHGs for which annual reporting is required: carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs) and sulfur hexafluoride (SF6). Emissions of each compound are listed individually and expressed as CO2 equivalent (CO2e). StatsCan survey number 5081 details the definitions, data sources and methods used in compiling the data.

The latest emissions information is set out on the government's GHG reporting Web site, www.ec.gc.ca/pdb/ghg/facility_e.cfm, in three tables, arranged according to different criteria. These include: total GHG emissions in each province and territory; a listing of all 324 reporting facilities and their respective GHG emissions; and type of estimation method used by facilities to determine their GHG emissions, listed by province/territory (an individual facility may use more than one type of method).

The 2004 GHG emissions data reflect improved accuracy in monitoring resulting from various studies and revisions in models. These improvements have also been applied to previous emission estimates in order to provide a clearer picture of emissions trends.

This has led in turn to an upward revision of Canada's total GHG emissions (not counting those from land use, land use changes and forestry) for 1990 and for 2003. Consequently, the increase in emissions between 1990 and 2003, previously reported to be 24.2%, is now calculated at 25.9%.

Levels for 2004 (expressed as CO2e) were 758 megatonnes (mt), up 0.6% from the 2003 total of 754 Mt. This represents a 26.5% increase over 1990 levels and is 34.6% above Canada's Kyoto target of 563 Mt of CO2e. The small increase from 2003 to 2004 is attributed to significantly reduced emissions from electricity production (less coal and more nuclear generation), together with a lower demand for heating fuel due to warmer weather. Overall energy sector emissions declined by 0.4%, the first drop since the 1990-91 period.

Emissions from most other sectors for 2004 rose over the previous year, with industrial process, solvent, agriculture and waste sectors showing increases of 8.3%, 0.9%, 4.5% and 0.8%, respectively.

Included on the GHG reporting Web site are charts showing sectoral emissions of individual GHGs for 2004, as well as total emissions for 1990, 2003 and 2004, with short-term and long-term changes illustrated. An analysis of sector trends reports that emissions from the energy industries and transportation sectors accounted for most of the overall increase in Canada's GHG emissions between 1990 and 2004. Of the 159 Mt net increase, emissions from these sectors made up 138 Mt.

Emissions from energy industries (including fossil fuel industries, electricity and steam generation, mining, fugitive releases and combustion emissions from pipelines) rose by nearly 95 Mt between 1990 and 2004, with almost 35Mt, or about 37% of that increase occurring in electricity and steam generation due to greater electricity demand and continued rising use of coal-fired generation. Fugitive releases, such as methane leaks from pipelines, rose by over 53% during the same period, increasing by 23.1 Mt. This is attributed to higher exports of crude oil and natural gas to the U.S.

Transportation sector GHG emissions rose by about 44.5 Mt, or nearly 30% from 1990 to 2004. A major contributor to this trend was the increase of nearly 22% (over 100%) in emissions from light-duty gasoline trucks, reflecting the growing popularity of sport utility vehicles. Increased emissions from heavy-duty diesel vehicles, which rose by 20.4 Mt, reflected a growth in heavy truck transport. These increases were offset somewhat by emission reductions of 4.0 and 1.3 Mt attributed to gasoline and alternatively-fueled cars, resepctively.

Emissions from the waste sector rose by about 4.0 Mt, or 15.9% between 1990 and 2004, largely due to the generation of greater quantities of landfilled waste. This increase would have been substantially larger if not for the widespread implementation of landfill gas recovery projects and waste diversion programs.

The Alberta report, produced as part of the province's Taking Action program, shows that the province's 99 large emitters released a total of 110 Mt of GHG emissions (expressed as CO2e). They accounted for 47% of total GHG emissions in Alberta and 64% of all GHG emissions from industry in the province. The leading sources of GHG emissions among the large emitters were power plants (46%), oil sands facilities (18%) and gas plants (8%).

CO2 accounted for 96% of all GHGs emitted from large industrial facilities in Alberta, coming from stationary combustion sources (85%). The remaining 4% of GHGs emitted were methane, nitrous oxide and HFCs. No Alberta facilities reported PFC or SF6 emissions in 2004.

Nationally, Alberta led the country in GHG emissions, representing 39% of total 2004 emissions from large emitters. This is due to the high number of energy sector facilities classified as large emitters (100 kt or more), along with the predominant use of coal for electricity generation in the province.

As a signatory to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Canada is obliged to submit an inventory of its GHG emissions on an annual basis. Monitoring is carried out using an internationally agreed upon format. To fulfill its obligation, the federal government introduced mandatory reporting of GHG emissions by major emitters in March 2004, with June 1, 2005 set as the deadline for reporting 2004 emissions data. (June 1, 2006 was the deadline for reporting 2005 data.)

For emission reporting purposes, a facility is defined as including all buildings, equipment, structures and stationary items, such as surfaces and storage piles, located on a single site. The definition also covers buildings, equipment, etc, on two or more contiguous or adjacent sites that are owned and operated by the same person and function as a single integrated site.

Information about the survey, along with results, may be viewed on the Environment Canada or Alberta Environment Web sites: www.ec.gc.ca/pdb/ghg/facility_e.cfm, www3.gov.ab.ca/env/air/EMR/sgreporting.html.

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