Canada’s Black Carbon Inventory Report 2023

This is an inventory of black carbon emissions from 2013 to 2021.

Table of contents

Acknowledgements

The Pollutant Inventories and Reporting Division (PIRD) of Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) wishes to acknowledge the individuals and organizations that contributed to Canada’s black carbon inventory and its report. PIRD would like to highlight the contributions of the following inventory compilers, authors and reviewers, whose work helped to develop and improve Canada’s Black Carbon Inventory Report 2013–2021 and estimates:

Tatyana Abou-Chaker, Sean Angel, Alice Au, Owen Barrigar, Samuel Belliveau, Alessia Czerwinski, Brandon Greenlaw, Jordon Kay, Geneviève LeBlanc-Power, Catherine Lee, Monique Murphy, Raphaëlle Pelland St-Pierre, Lindsay Pratt, Catherine Robert, Duane Smith, Steve Smyth, Anne-Marie St-Laurent Thibault, Brittany Sullivan, Brett Taylor, Shawn Tobin, Kristine Tracey, Melanie Vanderpol, and Nick Zhao.

Operation and maintenance of a central compilation and reporting database was done by Samuel Belliveau. Coordination of the black carbon inventory report was led by Raphaëlle Pelland St-Pierre. Compilation and layout of the report for publication was carried out by Marida Waters with the support of Bruna Sunye. Webpage development was carried out by the ECCC Digital Communication Services team. Editing and translation services were provided by Public Services and Procurement Canada.

Of the numerous people and organizations that provided support and information, we are especially indebted to the many individuals from the federal and provincial governments, industry and industry associations, consulting firms and universities who provided technical and scientific support.

Readers’ comments

Comments regarding the content of this report should be addressed to:

Lindsay Pratt, Director
Pollutant Inventories and Reporting Division
Science and Risk Assessment Directorate
Science and Technology Branch
Environment and Climate Change Canada
Place Vincent Massey
351 Saint-Joseph Blvd.
Gatineau, QC Canada  K1A 0H3

Email: apei-iepa@ec.gc.ca
Telephone: 1-877-877-8375

List of abbreviations and units

Abbreviations

APEI 
Air Pollutant Emissions Inventory
BC 
black carbon
CLRTAP 
Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution
ECCC 
Environment and Climate Change Canada
EEA 
European Environment Agency
EMEP 
European Monitoring and Evaluation Programme
EPG 
electrical power generation
IE 
included elsewhere
LTO
landing and takeoff
MOVES 
Motor Vehicle Emission Simulator
NFR 
Nomenclature for Reporting
NPRI 
National Pollutant Release Inventory
PM
particulate matter
PM2.5 
particulate matter less than or equal to 2.5 microns in diameter
QA
quality assurance
QC
quality control
UNECE  
United Nations Economic Commission for Europe
U.S. EPA
United States Environmental Protection Agency
VKT
Vehicle kilometres traveled

Units

kg/m3
kilograms per cubic metre
kt
kilotonne
t
tonne
w/w
weight by weight (mass fraction)

Executive summary

Black carbon is a component of particulate matter (PM) and a short-lived small aerosol (or airborne particle) linked to near-term climate warming, air pollution and adverse human health effects. Reducing black carbon emissions is of particular interest in polar regions, such as the Arctic, where it increases atmospheric warming and enhances melt when deposited on ice and snow.

During Canada’s term as Chair of the Arctic Council, from 2013 to 2015, the Council first promoted actions to achieve enhanced reductions of black carbon and methane emissions. The Framework for Action on Enhanced Black Carbon and Methane Emissions Reductions was agreed upon in April 2015. It includes a commitment from all Arctic states to develop and improve emission inventories for black carbon using, where possible, relevant guidelines from the Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution (CLRTAP). In 2017, the eight Arctic Council states also committed to the aspirational goal of reducing collective black carbon emissions by 25% to 33% relative to 2013 levels by 2025. In November 2017, Canada ratified the Gothenburg Protocol and its 2012 amendments, which include black carbon as a component of fine particulate matter. The amended Gothenburg Protocol under CLRTAP is the first legally binding instrument to include a focus on black carbon. Canada’s black carbon emissions inventory allows Canada to assess its progress in reducing black carbon emissions and combatting related climate change and human health issues, and to contribute towards the Arctic Council’s collective aspirational goal.

This report presents the results of the 2023 edition of Canada’s annual inventory of black carbon emissions. Emissions in this inventory are grouped according to the following source categories:Footnote 1

In keeping with international reporting requirements, Canada’s emissions of black carbon from aircraft at cruising altitude, as well as emissions from international marine navigation, are presented separately from other sources of emissions in this report and are excluded from Canada’s national total emissions.

In 2021, approximately 26 kilotonnes (kt) of black carbon were emitted in Canada (Table ES–1).Footnote 2 All emissions reported in this inventory are from anthropogenic (human) sources. Natural sources of black carbon, such as wildfires, are not included.

The most recent years for which data are available for this report, the years 2020 and 2021, were marked by the COVID-19 pandemic, coinciding with observed decreases in emissions of 3.4 kt or 11% between 2019 and 2020, and 0.43 kt or 1.7% between the years 2020 and 2021. This is most notable in Transportation and Mobile Equipment where emissions decreased 2.6 kt or 15% between 2019 and 2020 and 0.31 kt or 2.1% between 2020 and 2021, mostly from off-road diesel equipment. There were less off-road diesel engines in use in 2020 relative to 2019, and they consumed less diesel fuel. Between 2020 and 2021, as a result of fleet turn-over, more off-road diesel engines were in compliance with the latest exhaust emission standards. Black carbon emissions from home firewood burning decreased by 9% (0.6 kt) between 2019 and 2020, and again in 2021(13% or 0.9 kt compared to 2019) consistent with increasingly warm winters.

Transportation and Mobile Equipment is by far the largest source of black carbon in Canada, accounting for 15 kt (56%) of total emissions in 2021. Of the various sources in this category, off-road diesel engines account for 8.9 kt (34%) of total emissions in 2021. The other large source in this category is diesel engines used for on-road transport, which account for 2.4 kt (9.1%) of total emissions.

Commercial/Residential/Institutional fuel combustion is the second-largest contributor to black carbon emissions in Canada, accounting for 7.7 kt of black carbon, or 30% of total emissions in 2021. Home Firewood Burning is the largest source in this category, making up 6.5 kt of black carbon, or 25% of total 2021 emissions. Wood is an abundant fuel source in Canada, and it is estimated that 6.2 million tonnes of firewood were burned in Canadian homes in 2021, a decrease of 28% since 2015 (StatCan, n.d.).

Since 2013, black carbon emissions in Canada have decreased overall by 11 kt (30%). Therefore, Canada has already achieved its share of the Arctic Council’s goal to reduce black carbon emissions by 25-33% below 2013 levels by 2025.Footnote 3  Trends in black carbon emissions are largely driven by the Transportation and Mobile Equipment category and are consistent with observed trends in emissions of PM less than or equal to 2.5 microns in diameter (PM2.5) (on which black carbon estimates are based) (Table ES–1). More information on black carbon emissions and trends in Canada can be found in Chapter 2 and on estimation methods, in Chapter 3.

Irrespective of the downward trend, air quality issues may still arise when emission sources are spatially concentrated. While the black carbon inventory provides valuable information on emissions in Canada, it does not distinguish localized sources of emissions within the provincial and territorial level aggregations. Work will continue to improve the completeness and accuracy of the inventory, quantifying the emissions that are not yet captured, and refining base data and estimation techniques.

Notes :
Totals may not add up due to rounding.
Values in this report have been rounded to two significant digits.
0.00 Indicates emissions were truncated due to rounding.

Table ES–1: Canadian black carbon emissions by source category and sector (2013 to 2021) (tonnes)
Source category and sector Black carbon
2013
Black carbon
2014
Black carbon
2015
Black carbon
2016
Black carbon
2017
Black carbon
2018
Black carbon
2019
Black carbon
2020
Black carbon
2021
Ore and Mineral Industries (total) (total of the 6 following rows) 650 620 570 540 670 580 610 520 570
Aluminium Industry 51 45 36 35 34 30 30 33 34
Cement and Concrete Industry 14 15 19 15 16 20 17 13 19
Foundriesa 0.11 0.16 0.13 0.10 0.13 0.10 0.10 0.10 0.15
Iron and Steel Industry 120 120 120 120 120 140 130 110 100
Iron Ore Pelletizing 6.3 6.6 7.1 7.3 6.3 5.7 6.5 5.5 5.1
Mining and Rock Quarrying 460 430 380 370 490 390 420 360 410
Oil and Gas Industry (total) (total of the 12 following rows) 2 600 3 000 2 800 2 400 2 500 2 600 2 500 2 500 2 700
Disposal and Waste Treatment 0.12 0.13 0.13 0.12 0.12 0.10 0.10 0.10 0.10
Flaring 1 500 1 800 1 600 1 200 1 300 1 300 1 200 1 300 1 400
Heavy Crude Oil Cold Production 94 96 99 96 97 100 100 89 91
Light/Medium Crude Oil Production 160 160 160 150 150 160 160 150 150
Natural Gas Production and Processing 530 540 540 530 530 530 530 500 500
Natural Gas Transmission and Storage 34 32 32 32 33 33 33 33 33
Natural Gas Distribution 0.82 0.74 0.70 0.71 0.73 0.72 0.70 0.47 0.55
Oil Sands In-Situ Extraction 140 120 120 130 130 170 190 170 180
Oil Sands Mining, Extraction and Upgrading 200 310 250 250 290 280 270 280 340
Petroleum Liquids Storage 3.4 3.1 3.0 2.7 2.4 4.8 6.7 3.4 7.6
Petroleum Liquids Transportation 3.9 3.9 3.9 4.1 3.6 3.8 4.2 3.7 4.0
Well Drilling/Servicing/Testing 3.0 2.9 1.3 0.89 1.4 1.4 1.1 0.62 1.0
Electric Power Generation (Utilities) (total) (total of the 4 following rows) 210 230 240 240 210 220 210 200 190
Coal 37 42 39 37 37 36 30 25 20
Natural Gas 12 11 11 9.7 8.5 8.7 7.4 7.4 8.0
Diesel 130 150 160 160 130 150 150 140 130
Other (Electric Power Generation) 25 29 29 31 27 28 28 28 25
Manufacturing (total) (total of the 2 following rows) 490 390 410 330 290 280 290 290 290
Pulp and Paper Industry 270 220 200 180 170 160 150 150 140
Wood Products 230 170 210 140 130 120 140 140 150
Transportation and Mobile Equipment (total) (total of the 11 following rows) 24 000 22 000 21 000 19 000 19 000 19 000 17 000 15 000 15 000
Air Transportation (LTO) 230 220 210 210 210 230 230 140 160
Domestic Marine Navigation, Fishing and Military 820 720 610 630 620 630 700 550 630
On-Road Transport 7 300 6 700 5 500 4 300 3 800 3 700 3 300 2 900 3 000
On-Road Transport: Diesel
6 900 6 300 5 100 3 900 3 300 3 100 2 700 2 400 2 400
On-Road Transport: Gasoline
410 400 430 460 490 560 630 550 600
On-Road Transport: Liquid Petroleum Gas
0.49 0.39 0.38 0.31 0.34 0.40 0.47 0.49 0.58
On-Road Transport: Natural Gas
0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.10 0.10 0.10
Off-Road Transport 14 000 13 000 13 000 12 000 13 000 13 000 12 000 10 000 9 600
Off-Road Transport: Diesel
13 000 12 000 12 000 12 000 12 000 12 000 11 000 9 400 8 900
Off-Road Transport: Gasoline, Liquid Petroleum Gas and Natural Gas
890 800 780 810 780 760 750 680 700
Rail Transportation 1 900 1 700 1 500 1 300 1 400 1 500 1 400 1 200 1 200
Agriculture (total) (total of the following row) 46 46 42 42 40 34 33 27 25
Agricultural Fuel Combustion 46 46 42 42 40 34 33 27 25
Commercial/Residential/Institutional (total) (total of the 7 following rows) 9 000 9 100 8 700 8 300 8 300 8 800 8 700 8 000 7 700
Commercial and Institutional Fuel Combustion 830 880 840 890 970 1 000 1 100 1 000 1 000
Construction Fuel Combustion 42 41 41 43 44 47 49 47 48
Home Firewood Burning 8 000 8 000 7 700 7 200 7 200 7 600 7 400 6 800 6 500
Home Firewood Burning: Fireplaces
900 870 800 730 700 830 900 820 780
Home Firewood Burning: Furnaces
5 100 5 100 4 900 4 700 4 800 4 800 4 400 4 000 3 800
Home Firewood Burning: Wood Stoves
2 000 2 000 1 900 1 700 1 600 2 000 2 200 2 000 1 900
Residential Fuel Combustion 160 160 150 140 150 150 150 140 140
Grand total 37 000 35 000 34 000 31 000 31 000 31 000 30 000 26 000 26 000

Note:
a. The Foundries sector is being considered for omission from future inventories. If you have any questions, please contact us at apei-iepa@ec.gc.ca or 1-877-877-8375.

Other emissions estimated in the black carbon inventory (tonnes)
Sector Black carbon
2013
Black carbon
2014
Black carbon
2015
Black carbon
2016
Black carbon
2017
Black carbon
2018
Black carbon
2019
Black carbon
2020
Black carbon
2021
Domestic Air Transportation (Cruise) 230 220 210 210 230 250 250 140 160
International Air Transportation (Cruise) 370 360 370 380 420 480 490 220 230
International Marine Navigation 1 200 1 100 1 000 1 000 1 000 1 100 900 700 750

Note:
Refer to Annex 3.3 for more information on Transportation and Mobile Equipment emissions reporting.

References, Executive summary

[StatCan] Statistics Canada. No date. Households and the Environment Survey. [accessed 2019 Jul].

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