Canada’s Air Pollutant Emissions Inventory Report 2020: chapter 2.2

2.2 Sulphur oxides (SOx)

In 2018, 811 kt of SOx were emitted in Canada (Table 2–4). Ore and mineral industries were one of the largest contributor, accounting for 32% (259 kt) of national emissions. Approximately 54% (140 kt) of the emissions from this source were attributed to the non-ferrous refining and smelting industry. The oil and gas industry also accounts for 32% (261 kt) of total SOx emissions. Electric power generation (utilities) was the third-largest source of SOx, accounting for 27% (220 kt) of total SOx emissions, almost entirely attributed to coal-fired electricity generation at 26% (212 kt). The remaining 9% of SOx emissions were distributed across multiple sources.

Overall, SOx emissions decreased by 73% (2.2 Mt) between 1990 and 2018 (Figure 2–2). Reductions in emissions from the non-ferrous refining and smelting industry were the largest driver of this downward trend, particularly in the early 1990s, and again from 2008 to 2018. This decrease can be attributed to the preparation and implementation of pollution prevention plans by facilities, the installation of new technology or processes at facilities, and the closure of three major smelters in Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec (ECCC, 2017). Emissions from electric power generation decreased significantly from 2003 to 2018, due primarily to  the closure of, or improvements to, generating stations burning heavy fuel oil. Improvements consist of the installation of pollution control equipment or switching to low sulphur heavy fuel oil. Upstream oil and gas industry experienced a gradual decline throughout the time series as a result of a decrease in emissions from oil sands mining, extraction and upgrading and natural gas processing, attributed to better emission control technologies.

The most significant decreases in SOx emissions from 1990 to 2018 include:

Figure 2–2: Major contributors to national SOx trends

Figure 2-2 (See long description below)
Long description for Figure 2–2

Figure 2–2 is a stacked area graph displaying the four major contributors to national SOx trends. The four contributors are the following: Non-Ferrous Refining and Smelting Industry, Coal (Electric Power Generation), Upstream Oil and Gas Industry, and Other. The following table displays the contributions (kt) for the years 1990 to 2018.

Figure 2–2: Major contributors to national SOx trends (kt)
Sector 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Sector 1 - Upstream Oil and Gas Industry 401 395 421 428 454 436 427 384 365 374 368 356 341 347 340 339 321 306 289 293 273 268 270 254 226 209 195 207 214
Sector 2 - Coal (Electric Power Generation) 515 506 518 464 489 458 465 510 518 512 535 535 535 530 493 462 441 474 411 369 322 286 278 272 260 242 243 236 212
Sector 3 - Non-Ferrous Refining and Smelting Industry 1 272 1 119 974 895 681 889 878 821 831 770 764 758 749 648 705 677 662 617 565 396 370 333 342 370 373 365 359 266 140
Sector 4 - Other 868 819 806 846 795 772 795 800 769 731 727 724 710 743 742 689 544 520 469 415 397 387 371 348 339 252 255 248 246

Table 2-4: National summary of annual SOx emissions

Ore and Mineral Industries (tonnes)
Sector 1990 2000 2005 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Sub-total 1 500 000 910 000 860 000 490 000 490 000 480 000 480 000 390 000 260 000
Aluminium Industry 31 000 48 000 63 000 60 000 55 000 57 000 64 000 66 000 62 000
Asphalt Paving Industry 740 650 940 650 720 630 680 710 740
Cement and Concrete Industry 48 000 45 000 54 000 23 000 20 000 23 000 24 000 23 000 25 000
Foundries 1 300 910 720 48 48 48 49 48 48
Iron and Steel Industry 36 000 29 000 30 000 24 000 24 000 22 000 17 000 18 000 19 000
Iron Ore Industry 59 000 17 000 19 000 11 000 10 000 12 000 13 000 12 000 9 800
Mineral Products Industry 1 300 820 1 800 1 800 1 600 1 400 1 500 850 750
Mining and Rock Quarrying 32 000 9 500 11 000 2 500 2 300 2 100 1 900 2 300 1 900
Non-Ferrous Mining and Smelting Industry 1 300 000 760 000 680 000 370 000 370 000 360 000 360 000 270 000 140 000
Oil and Gas Industry (tonnes)
Sector 1990 2000 2005 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Sub-total 530 000 500 000 450 000 310 000 280 000 250 000 240 000 250 000 260 000
Downstream Oil and Gas Industry 130 000 140 000 110 000 55 000 52 000 44 000 50 000 47 000 48 000
Upstream Oil and Gas Petroleum Industry 400 000 370 000 340 000 250 000 230 000 210 000 190 000 210 000 210 000
Electric Power Generation (Utilities) (tonnes)
Sector 1990 2000 2005 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Sub-total 620 000 620 000 520 000 280 000 270 000 250 000 250 000 250 000 220 000
Coal 510 000 530 000 460 000 270 000 260 000 240 000 240 000 240 000 210 000
Diesel 430 440 330 15 39 160 73 74 120
Natural Gas 29 000 21 000 19 000 1 400 2 400 2 100 1 800 1 100 1 400
Waste Materials 0.76 1.4 -* - - - - - -
Other (Electric Power Generation) 74 000 63 000 41 000 5 100 7 000 7 700 8 200 8 300 6 800
Manufacturing (tonnes)
Sector 1990 2000 2005 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Sub-total 230 000 160 000 150 000 50 000 53 000 49 000 45 000 43 000 45 000
Abrasives Manufacture 4 000 860 860 -* - - - - -
Bakeries - - 0.15 0.01 0.01 0.01 0.01 0.01 -
Biofuel Production - - - 1.7 0.33 - - - -
Chemicals Industry 38 000 31 000 36 000 19 000 21 000 23 000 21 000 18 000 20 000
Electronics 1 700 3 000 3 000 - - - 0.04 - -
Food Preparation 3 500 4 800 6 000 740 610 370 280 370 420
Glass Manufacturing 2 300 2 800 2 500 630 600 630 610 590 600
Grain Industry 230 210 390 630 470 510 530 490 340
Metal Fabrication 2 300 2 700 2 000 880 580 700 540 550 560
Plastics Manufacturing 470 26 3.3 0.01 0.01 - - 0.01 0.01
Pulp and Paper Industry 140 000 78 000 66 000 26 000 29 000 24 000 21 000 22 000 22 000
Textiles 390 390 320 31 22 17 21 19 19
Vehicle Manufacture (Engines, Parts, Assembly, Painting) 2 300 2 100 990 150 0.64 0.01 0.01 0.02 0.03
Wood Products 3 300 3 400 2 900 570 640 590 600 600 550
Other (Manufacturing) 29 000 25 000 24 000 730 650 350 400 360 340
Transportation and Mobile Equipment (tonnes)
Sector 1990 2000 2005 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Sub-total 140 000 160 000 150 000 94 000 88 000 12 000 11 000 11 000 10 000
Air Transportation 790 820 900 620 560 440 450 470 520
Heavy-duty Diesel Vehicles 15 000 6 700 6 100 170 160 160 150 160 170
Heavy-duty Gasoline Vehicles 970 2 000 150 190 180 180 190 190 200
Heavy-duty LPG/NG Vehicles 240 1 300 9.0 0.43 0.32 0.38 0.45 0.65 0.65
Light-duty Diesel Trucks 170 78 52 1.8 2.2 2.8 3.2 3.8 4.2
Light-duty Diesel Vehicles 570 130 110 3.2 3.2 3.3 3.1 3.1 3.0
Light-duty Gasoline Trucks 3 200 6 400 510 670 670 700 740 760 800
Light-duty Gasoline Vehicles 7 300 8 400 560 560 540 540 550 530 530
Light-duty LPG/NG Trucks 190 180 10 0.20 0.16 0.14 0.16 0.18 0.19
Light-duty LPG/NG Vehicles 23 28 1.4 0.01 0.01 0.01 0.01 0.01 0.01
Marine Transportation 80 000 110 000 130 000 91 000 86 000 9 700 9 000 8 300 7 600
Motorcycles 15 25 2.8 4.0 4.0 4.2 4.4 4.5 4.7
Off-road Diesel Vehicles and Equipment 28 000 17 000 6 700 150 150 150 130 150 160
Off-road Gasoline/LPG/NG Vehicles and Equipment 1 400 1 500 83 74 78 80 80 83 87
Rail Transportation 5 700 5 400 5 000 50 51 48 45 51 52
Tire Wear and Brake Lining -* - - - - - - - -
Agriculture (tonnes)
Sector 1990 2000 2005 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Sub-total 2 200 1 500 2 900 8 500 9 300 6 900 6 400 6 400 6 000
Animal Production -* - - - - - - - -
Crop Production - - - - - - - - -
Fuel Use 2 200 1 500 2 900 8 500 9 300 6 900 6 400 6 400 6 000
Commercial / Residential / Institutional (tonnes)
Sector 1990 2000 2005 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Sub-total 52 000 36 000 37 000 9 900 10 000 8 900 7 300 7 100 6 600
Cigarette Smoking1 -* - - - - - - - -
Commercial and Institutional Fuel Combustion 19 000 19 000 21 000 3 000 3 300 2 400 1 500 1 500 960
Commercial Cooking - - - - - - - - -
Construction Fuel Combustion 1 900 620 1 400 530 520 620 420 440 410
Home Firewood Burning 3 600 3 300 2 700 2 800 2 800 2 800 2 800 2 800 2 800
Human1 - - - - - - - - -
Marine Cargo Handling 0.01 0.00 - 140 140 88 91 120 97
Residential Fuel Combustion 28 000 14 000 11 000 3 400 3 200 3 000 2 500 2 300 2 400
Service Stations - - - - - - - - -
Other (Miscellaneous) - - - - - - - - -
Incineration and Waste (tonnes)
Sector 1990 2000 2005 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Sub-total 2 700 2 800 2 900 2 200 2 200 2 500 2 200 2 300 2 300
Crematoriums 5.0 7.0 8.9 12 13 13 14 14 14
Waste Incineration 2 300 2 400 2 400 2 000 2 000 2 100 2 000 2 100 2 100
Waste Treatment and Disposal 440 400 420 170 210 380 220 220 220
Paints and Solvents (tonnes)
Sector 1990 2000 2005 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Sub-total -* - 0.05 0.00 0.00 0.00 - - -
Dry Cleaning - - - - - - - - -
General Solvent Use - - - - - - - - -
Printing - - 0.05 0.00 0.00 0.00 - - -
Surface Coatings - - - - - - - - -
Dust (tonnes)
Sector 1990 2000 2005 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Sub-total -* - - - - - - - -
Coal Transportation - - - - - - - - -
Construction Operations - - - - - - - - -
Mine Tailings - - - - - - - - -
Paved Roads - - - - - - - - -
Unpaved Roads - - - - - - - - -
Fires (tonnes)
Sector 1990 2000 2005 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Sub-total 180 28 18 13 53 41 34 20 10
Prescribed Forest Burning 180 28 18 13 53 41 34 20 10
Structural Fires -* - - - - - - - -
Totals (tonnes)
Sector 1990 2000 2005 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Ore and Mineral Industries 1 500 000 910 000 860 000 490 000 490 000 480 000 480 000 390 000 260 000
Oil and Gas Industry 530 000 500 000 450 000 310 000 280 000 250 000 240 000 250 000 260 000
Electric Power Generation (Utilities) 620 000 620 000 520 000 280 000 270 000 250 000 250 000 250 000 220 000
Manufacturing 230 000 160 000 150 000 50 000 53 000 49 000 45 000 43 000 45 000
Transportation and Mobile Equipment 140 000 160 000 150 000 94 000 88 000 12 000 11 000 11 000 10 000
Agriculture 2 200 1 500 2 900 8 500 9 300 6 900 6 400 6 400 6 000
Commercial / Residential / Institutional 52 000 36 000 37 000 9 900 10 000 8 900 7 300 7 100 6 600
Incineration and Waste 2 700 2 800 2 900 2 200 2 200 2 500 2 200 2 300 2 300
Paints and Solvents -* - 0.05 0.0 0.0 0.0 - - -
Dust - - - - - - - - -
Fires 180 28 18 13 53 41 34 20 10
Grand Total 3 100 000 2 400 000 2 200 000 1 200 000 1 200 000 1 100 000 1 100 000 960 000 810 000

Notes:

Totals may not add up due to rounding.

1. Cigarette Smoking as well as Infant Diapered Waste (which is included within the Human sector) are being considered for removal from future inventories. If you have any questions, please contact us at ec.iepa-apei.ec@canada.ca or 1-877-877-8375.

* - = no emission

0.00 Indicates emissions truncated due to rounding

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