November 19, 2007

Major industrial emitters report small decline in GHG releases

Total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from Canada's major industrial emitters inched downward in 2006, declining by 2.3% from 2005 levels. Data compiled by Statistics Canada on behalf of Environment Canada and Alberta Environment show that industrial facilities emitting 100,000 tonnes or more of greenhouse gases per year released a total of 273,157 kilotonnes (kt) last year, down from 279,712 kt in 2005 (expressed as carbon dioxide equivalent, CO2e).

The decline, although small, is an improvement over the 2004-05 period, which saw a drop of only 0.1%.

The annual Greenhouse Gas Emissions Report gathers data on emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O), as well as emissions of hydrofluorocarbon (HFC), perfluorocarbon (PFC), and sulfur hexafluoride (SF6). Information is also organized by province and industry sectors. All figures are expressed as CO2e.

CO2 remained the leading GHG, with major emitters accounting for 256,306 kt CO2e in 2006, down 1.8% from 2005 levels. N2O emissions from these facilities showed the greatest decline, dropping nearly 27% from6,039 kt CO2r in 2006 to 4,418 kt in 2006. PFC emissions were also reduced substantially in 2005-06, from 3,065 kt CO2e to 2,626 kt; this followed a 1.2% increase in 2004-05. After rising by 14.7% in 2004-05, CH4 emissions dropped slightly (0.4%) in 2005-06, from 8,551 kt CO2e to 8,521 kt. HFC and SF6 figures are not included in the report, these data kept confidential to meet secrecy requirements of the Statistics Act.

By province, major emitters in Alberta reported the greatest increase in emissions (5.8%), from 100,070 kt CO2e in 2005 to 115,421 kt in 2006. The provinces with the greatest year-to-year reductions were New Brunswick (down by 19.2%), Manitoba (down by 13.4%) and British Columbia (down by 10.6%), followed by Ontario and Nova Scotia (down by 9% and 8.4%, respectively).

By sector, emissions from major facilities in the mining/oil and gas extraction industries rose by 8.9% from 2005 to 2006, reflecting increased activity in these sectors (with emissions increasing from 50,335 kt CO2e to 54,791 kt). Utilities were the leading emitters, with 116,826 kt CO2e in 2006. This total, however, was 6.3% below 2005 levels and followed a 2.2% increase between 2004-05. The manufacturing sector continued a downward trend, facilities reporting a total of 88,060 kt CO2e in 2006, down 5.3% from the 90,483 kt reported in 2005. The 2005 total, in turn, was 5.2% less than 2004 levels.

GHG emissions from major emitters in the "other" category declined by 5.3% from 2005-06 following a 22.4% increase between 2004-05. This category includes facilities in the waste management and remediation services sectors, as well as transportation and warehousing, administrative and support, and health care/social assistance.

Major industrial facilities (i.e. those emitting 100,000 tonnes or more of GHGs per year) are required to report their emissions. They have access to a secure electronic data reporting system for this purpose. Previous surveys have been conducted for 2004 and 2005. Environment Canada and Alberta Environment are collaborating on this project to ensure as accurate a tracking of GHG emissions as possible. This will contribute to the development, implementation and evaluation of climate change and energy use policies and strategies.

More information on the Greenhouse Gas Emissions report is available on the StatsCan Web site, www.statcan.ca.

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