March 5, 2007

Top 336 reporting facilities account for one-third of Canada's greenhouse gas emissions

Canada's major greenhouse gas (GHG)-emitting facilities released a total of 280 megatonnes (Mt), as carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e), in 2005, according to the latest data released March 2 by Statistics Canada. Total facility GHG emissions in 2005 represent just over one-third (37%) of Canada's total GHG emissions in 2004, as published in the National Inventory Report, 1990-2004: Greenhouse Gas Sources and Sinks in Canada.

A total of 336 facilities reported GHG emissions for the 2005 calendar year, up from 326 in 2004. CO2 constituted most of the total reported emissions, at around 93%. Methane (CH4), although a far more potent GHG, accounted for 3%, with nitrous oxide (N2O) making up just over 2%. The final 2% of emissions were made up of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs), and sulphur hexafluoride (SF6); these originated primarily from the manufacturing sector.

Facilities in Alberta accounted for the largest share of reported emissions, with approximately 39% of the total, followed by those in Ontario, which accounted for about 28%. Saskatchewan and Quebec, each with about 8% of reported emissions, were the next largest contributors.

In terms of total reported GHG emissions by province/territory, Manitoba had largest percentage change in reported emissions (20% for all facilities, 25% on a comparable basis). Quebec accounted for the largest decrease in reported emissions on a percentage basis (-5% for all facilities, -6% on a comparable basis). The percentage contribution to the total reported GHG emissions for each of the top four provinces (Alberta, Ontario, Saskatchewan and Quebec) was virtually unchanged from year to year.

The information is gathered under the auspices of the federal government's mandatory GHG emissions reporting program, established in March 2004. The program requires facilities emitting 100,000 tonnes (100 kilotonnes) or more of CO2e annually to submit their GHG emission data by June 1st of the following year. The deadline for submitting 2005 data, for example, was June 1, 2006. Facilities below the reporting threshold can also voluntarily report their GHG emissions, and 26 facilities did so for 2005. The annual survey, conducted by StatsCan on behalf of Environment Canada and Alberta Environment, complements the national GHG inventory.

The GHG reporting program requires facilities to list the industry sector representing the primary source of their emissions, based on the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS).

Three industrial sectors accounted for the majority of GHG emissions. Utilities, primarily those generating electricity, accounted for 44%; the manufacturing sector accounted for 32% (90.6 kt); and mining and oil and gas extraction for 18% (50.3 kt). Within the utilities sector, the survey shows that over 99% of the emissions are produced by electric power generation, transmission, and distribution.

Within the manufacturing sector, the leading source of GHG emissions is petroleum and coke products (23%), followed by iron and steel mills and ferro-alloy producction (18%), basic chemical manufacturing (15%), cement and concrete products (14%) and alumina and aluminum production and processing (10%).

Oil and gas extraction accounts for most (81%) of the GHG emissions in the mining/oil and gas extraction sector, followed by metal ore mining (8%) and support activities for these two sectors (6%). Coal mining and non-metal mining/quarrying accounted for only 3% and 2% of GHG emissions from the mining/oil and gas sector, respectively.

Although the number of reporting facilities increased by ten between 2004 and 2005, the change in total CO2e emissions was negligible (i.e. less than 1%). This was also the case for the 307 facilities that reported GHG emissions in both years and are considered to be "comparable facilities." Such facilities, notes the report, may have undergone a change in ownership or operator.

In addition, there was essentially no change from 2004 to 2005 in the source of reported GHG emissions from the three major sectors when comparing all reporting facilities.

By jurisdiction, Ontario saw an increase of four in the number of reporting facilities, whereas Alberta and Saskatchewan each had increases of three between 2004 and 2005. All other provinces/territories had very little change in the number of reporting facilities (+/- 1 facility), except for British Columbia, which was the only province with a decrease of two reporting facilities.

More information is available on Environment Canada's GHG reporting Web site,

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