Archived: Air Pollutant Emission Inventory report: executive summary
Air Pollutant Emission Inventory (APEI) Report (PDF); 2.63 MB
Canada’s Air Pollutant Emission Inventory (APEI) has been prepared and published by Environment and Climate Change Canada since 1973. The APEI is a comprehensive inventory of emissions of 17 air pollutants at the national and provincial/territorial levels. This inventory serves many purposes including fulfilling Canada’s international reporting obligations under the 1979 Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution (CLRTAP) and the associated protocols ratified by Canada for the reduction of emissions of sulphur oxides (SOx), nitrogen oxides (NOx), cadmium (Cd), lead (Pb), mercury (Hg), dioxins and furans, and other persistent organic pollutants (POPs). The APEI also supports monitoring and reporting obligations under the Canada-U.S. Air Quality Agreement and the development of air quality management strategies, policies and regulations, informs Canadians about pollutants that affect their health and the environment, and provides data for air quality forecasting models.
The APEI is compiled from many different data sources. Emissions data reporting by individual facilities to Environment and Climate Change Canada’s National Pollutant Release Inventory and, to a lesser extent, data provided directly by the provinces are supplemented with well documented, science-based estimation tools and methodologies to quantify total emissions. Together, these data sources provide a comprehensive overview of air pollutant emissions across Canada.
This edition of the APEI reports the most recent estimates of air pollutant emissions for 1990-2015 as of February 2017. The inventory indicates that 14 of the 17 reported air pollutants show reductions compared to historical levels.Footnote1 Specifically:
- Emissions of SOx were 1.0 million tonnes in 2015, 68% below the emission ceiling of 3.3 million tonnes established under the 1985 Helsinki Protocol on the Reduction of Sulphur Emissions or their Transboundary Fluxes.
- Emissions of NOx were 1.8 million tonnes in 2015, 19% below the emission ceiling of 2.3 million tonnes established under the 1988 Sofia Protocol concerning the Control of Emissions of Nitrogen Oxides or their Transboundary Fluxes.
- In 2015, emissions of Cd, Pb, and Hg were 83%, 76% and 75% below the ceilings established under the 1998 Aarhus Protocol on Heavy Metals.
- In 2015, emissions of all POPs were below ceilings established in the 1998 Aarhus Protocol on Persistent Organic Pollutants, including the four species of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) (by 67%), hexachlorobenzene (HCB) (by 91%), and dioxins and furans (by 87%).
- Emissions of non-methane volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and carbon monoxide (CO) decreased by 36% and 54%, respectively, from 1990 to 2015.
- Fine particulate emissions (particulate matter less than or equal to 2.5 microns in diameter (PM2.5)) are decreasing from all sources except from dust from paved and unpaved roads and construction; total PM2.5 emissions are now 18% below 1990 levels.
Canada’s air pollution emission trends: 1990 to 2015
The last year saw no significant change in the general downward trends of pollutant emissions: industrial emissions of SOx continued to decline, largely due to decreasing emissions from the upstream petroleum industry which has seen a decrease of 53%, non-ferrous smelting and refining which has seen a decrease of 71% and electric power generation (utilities) which has decreased 56%.
The adoption of conservation tillage practices in crop production and the use of new fireplace inserts, furnaces and stoves have contributed to a decrease in emissions of PM2.5. Although already on the decline, the aluminium industry experienced a large drop in PAH emissions from 2001 to 2010 due to the implementation of new production technologies, such as the introduction of pre-baked electrodes to replace continuous casting electrodes. The aluminium industry experienced additional decreases between 2014 and 2015, related to the replacement of old smelting equipment with a modern smelter at the facility which historically contributed the largest portion of PAH emissions. Emissions of Cd also maintained their steady decline, with reductions in emissions from several sources.
A few sources of pollutants have exerted a dominant influence in the downward trends in emissions. In particular, decreases in emissions of SOx, Cd, Pb and Hg in non-ferrous smelting and refining, as well as mining and rock quarrying industries have strongly contributed to the overall downward trends in emissions of these pollutants. In addition, reductions in NOx emissions from light-duty gasoline trucks and vehicles, as well as in emissions of VOCs and CO associated with the combustion of gasoline, liquid petroleum gas or compressed natural gas by off-road equipment were instrumental in reducing national emissions of these pollutants.
Improvement in incineration technologies have significantly contributed to decreases in emissions of HCB, dioxins and furans.
An exception to the general downward trends described above is observed in emissions of ammonia (NH3) which are 22% above 1990 levels in 2015. The upward trend in ammonia emissions is driven by fertilizer application and animal production.
Canada’s air emissions regulations
Downward trends in emissions of air pollutants reflect the ongoing implementation of a wide range of regulations that restrict or eliminate pollutants in order to improve and maintain air quality in Canada. Regulations specific to air pollutants under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA) include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Multi-Sector Air Pollutants Regulations (2016)
- Export of Substances on the Export Control List Regulations (amended 2015)
- On-Road Vehicle and Engine Emission Regulations (amended 2015)
- Sulphur in Gasoline Regulations (amended 2015)
- Products Containing Mercury Regulations (2014)
- Renewable Fuels Regulations (amended 2013)
- Off-Road Compression-Ignition Engine Emission Regulations (amended 2012)
- Sulphur in Diesel Fuel Regulations (amended 2012)
- Benzene in Gasoline Regulations (amended 2011)
- Marine Spark-Ignition Engine, Vessel and Off-Road Recreational Vehicle Emission Regulations (2011)
- Gasoline Regulations (amended 2010)
- Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) Concentration Limits for Automotive Refinishing Products Regulations (amended 2010)
- Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) Concentration Limits for Architectural Coatings Regulations (amended 2009)
- Off-Road Small Spark-Ignition Engine Emission Regulations (2003)
- Gasoline and Gasoline Blend Dispensing Flow Rate Regulations (2000)
- Pulp and Paper Mill Effluent Chlorinated Dioxins and Furans Regulations (1992)
- Contaminated Fuel Regulations (1991)
- Secondary Lead Smelter Release Regulations (1991)
All regulations administered under CEPA are available in the registry.
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