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Facility Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reporting - Overview of Reported 2012 Emissions

2. Reported 2012 Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Note: Unless explicitly stated otherwise, all emissions data presented in this report are expressed in carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2 eq) units.

A total of 549 facilities reported their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to Environment Canada for the 2012 calendar year, collectively emitting a total of 257 megatonnes (Mt) of GHGs.Footnote 1 Of these facilities, 313 reported GHG emission levels greater than 100 kilotonnes (kt), accounting for 95% of the total reported emissions; and 58 emitted GHGs in quantities higher than 1 Mt, accounting for 63% of the total reported emissions. Fifteen facilities reported their GHG emissions for the first time. Facilities with emissions falling below the reporting threshold of 50 kt per year can voluntarily report their GHG emissions; 68 facilities did so this year. Reported emissions from voluntary reporters are included in this report and in the dataset published by Environment Canada.

 


2.1 Calculation Methodology

A facility may choose among a number of available methods to calculate its GHG emissions. The methods selected by reporting facilities must be consistent with the guidelines adopted by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and developed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) for the preparation of national GHG inventories. Reporting facilities must indicate the types of methods used to determine the quantities of emissions reported. Such methods may include monitoring or direct measurement (MDM), mass balance (MB), emission factors (EF) and/or engineering estimates (EE).

Overall, methods incorporating the use of EFs were the approach preferred by many facilities (Figure 1). An EF is a measure that indicates the rate at which a GHG is released into the atmosphere due to a given activity, such as burning of a specific fuel type or production of a specific industrial product. The EFs used may be general or technology-specific. Note that many facilities used multiple types of calculation methods to determine their emissions.

 

Figure 1: Types of methods used by facilities

Figure 1: Types of methods used by facilities

Long Description for Figure 1Figure 1 is a pie graph showing the types of calculation methods and their percent usage by facilities to estimate their greenhouse gas emissions. The most common type of method used (at 61%) was that using emissions factors followed by engineering estimates at 15%. The remaining types of methods are mass balance, used 13% of the time and monitoring or direct measurements at 11%.

 


2.2 Reported GHG Emissions by Gas and by Source

CO2 represented the majority of the total reported emissions (94%), while methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions each contributed an additional 4% and 1%, respectively. Facilities are also required to report emissions of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs) and sulphur hexafluoride (SF6), stemming from industrial processes or industrial product use; the combined emissions of these gases accounted for the remaining 1%.

 

Figure 2: Reported 2012 GHG emissions by gas (257 Mt CO2 eq)

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Long Description for Figure 2Figure 2 is a pie graph showing the breakdown of the reported 2012 greenhouse gas emissions by gas. Carbon dioxide represented the majority of the total emissions at 94%, while methane and nitrous oxide emissions each contributed an additional 4% and 1% respectively. The combined emissions of hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons and sulphur hexafluoride accounted for the remaining 1%.

 

GHG emissions are often calculated and reported in terms of how much CO2 would be required to produce a similar warming effect over a specific time horizon. This is called the CO2 eq value and is calculated by multiplying the amount of the gas by its associated global warming potential (GWP) (Table 1).Footnote 2 For example, the GWP for CH4 is 21, which means that each tonne of CH4 emitted to the atmosphere is considered to have a cumulative warming effect over the next 100 years equivalent to emitting 21 tonnes of CO2.

 

Table 1: GHGs and Global Warming Potentials (GWPs)
Greenhouse Gas 
100-year GWPFootnote*
Carbon dioxide (CO2)
1
Methane (CH4)
21
Nitrous oxide (N2O)
310
Sulphur hexafluoride (SF6)
23 900
Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), 13 species
Ranges from 140 to 11 700
Perfluorocarbons (PFCs), 7 species
Ranges from 6 500 to 9 200
Footnotes
Note
Footnote *

Source: Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 2nd Assessment Report for Working Group I: The Science of Climate Change

Return to firstfootnote * referrer

 

When reporting to the Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reporting Program (GHGRP), facilities are required to report emissions of CO2, CH4 and N2O according to the following eight source categoriesFootnote 3: stationary fuel combustion, industrial processes, venting, flaring, fugitive, on-site transportation, waste and wastewater. Stationary fuel combustion is the largest source of these emissions, representing 75% of the total reported emissions (Figure 3). This source includes emissions resulting from the burning of fuels for the purpose of producing energy (e.g. to generate electricity, heat or steam), but does not include sources like combustion engines in vehicles. Any waste material burned or incinerated at a facility to produce energy is also included in stationary combustion. Industrial process emissions, the second-largest source of reported emissions at 15%, refer to emissions stemming from specific industrial processes involving chemical or physical reactions other than combustion. Such reactions occur, for example, in the processes of mineral production (e.g. lime, cement), metal production (e.g. iron, steel, aluminium) and chemical production (e.g. nitric acid and ammonia production).

 

Figure 3: Reported 2012 GHG emissions by source (CO2, CH4 and N2O included)

Figure 3: Reported 2012 GHG emissions by source (CO2, CH4 and N2O included

Long Description for Figure 3Figure 3 is a pie graph showing the breakdown of the reported 2012 greenhouse gas emissions by emission source category. Stationary fuel combustion was the largest source of emissions at 75%. Industrial processes accounted for 15%, fugitive for 3% while venting, flaring, and on-site transportation each accounted for 2%. The two remaining categories, waste and wastewater, when combined, accounted for the remaining 1%.

2.3 Reported GHG Emissions by Province/Territory

Facilities in Alberta accounted for the largest share of reported emissions, with approximately 49% of the total, followed by Ontario with 19%. Next were Saskatchewan and Quebec, which accounted for 9% and 8% of reported emissions, respectively (Table 2).

 

Table 2: Reported 2012 GHG emissions by province/territory
Province/Territory
Number of Facilities
Total Emissions (kt CO2 eq)
Percentage of Total Emissions Footnote*
Newfoundland and Labrador
8
4 405
2%
Prince Edward Island
1
53
0.02%
Nova Scotia
11
8 822
3%
New Brunswick
13
6 421
2%
Quebec
79
20 569
8%
Ontario
143
49 909
19%
Manitoba
12
1 897
1%
Saskatchewan
40
23 459
9%
Alberta
162
126 371
49%
British Columbia
75
14 225
6%
Northwest Territories
4
549
0.2%
Nunavut
1
203
0.1%
Total
549
256 883
Footnotes
Note
Footnote *

Totals may not add up due to rounding.

Return to firstfootnote * referrer


2.4 Reported GHG Emissions by Sector

When completing a report for the GHGRP, a reporter is required to identify the main activities occurring at its facility using the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS).Footnote 4 In 2012, three NAICS-defined industrial sectors accounted for the majority of GHG emissions: Utilities, primarily those generating electricity from fossil fuels, representing 35% (90 Mt); Manufacturing, accounting for 31%  (79 Mt); and Mining, Quarrying, and Oil and Gas Extraction, accounting for 30% (77 Mt) (Figure 4). Further breakdowns of the reported emissions from these main sectors are provided in figures 5 to 6. The remaining 4% (11 Mt) of emissions captured under “Other” were reported by various types of facilities, mainly stemming from natural gas transportation pipelines (6 Mt) and solid waste landfills (4 Mt). Virtually all of the emissions (98%, i.e. 88 Mt) under the Utilities Sector are from Electric Power Generation, Transmission and Distribution.

 

Figure 4: Reported 2012 GHG emissions by industry sector (257 Mt CO2 eq)

Figure 4: Reported 2012 GHG emissions by industry sector (257 Mt CO2 eq

* "Other" includes various types of facilities such as natural gas transportation pipelines, solid waste landfills, airports, universities, hospitals and public administration buildings.

Long Description for Figure 4Figure 4 is a pie graph showing the breakdown of the reported 2012 greenhouse gas emissions by main industry sector. Facilities in the Utilities sector accounted for 35%, Manufacturing for 31% and Mining, Quarrying, and Oil and Gas Extraction for 30%. The Other category, accounting for the remaining 4% of emissions, includes facilities that fall into industry sectors other than those already mentioned such as natural gas transportation pipelines,solid waste landfills and universities.

 

The Manufacturing sector (Figure 5) includes, but is not limited to, facilities engaged in petroleum and coal product manufacturing; iron, steel and ferro-alloy manufacturing; chemical manufacturing; cement and concrete product manufacturing; alumina and aluminium production and manufacturing; pulp and paper mills (within Wood Product and Paper Manufacturing); and base metals production. Base metals (e.g. copper, nickel, zinc) production falls within the subsector Non-ferrous Metal (except Aluminium) Production and Processing.

 

Figure 5: Reported 2012 GHG emissions by subsectors of Manufacturing (79 Mt CO2 eq)

Figure 5: Reported 2012 GHG emissions by subsectors of Manufacturing (79 Mt CO2 eq)

* "Other Manufacturing" includes other types of manufacturing such as Electrical Equipment, Transportation Equipment, Furniture Manufacturing.

Long Description for Figure 5Figure 5 is a pie graph showing the breakdown of the 2012 greenhouse gas emissions reported by the Manufacturing sector by subsector. The top four contributors to the reported emissions in this sector were petroleum and coal product manufacturing at 22%, iron and steel mills and ferro-alloy manufacturing at 18%, basic chemical manufacturing at 14% and cement and concrete product manufacturing at 13%. Alumina and aluminium production and processing accounted for 9% of emissions, pesticide, fertilizer and other agriculture chemical manufacturing for 8% and wood product and paper manufacturing for 6%. The remaining emissions for this sector break down as follows: Lime and gypsum product manufacturing, 3%; non-ferrous metal (except aluminium) production and processing, 2%; food and beverage manufacturing, 1%; and other manufacturing activities, 3%.

 

Activities of reporting facilities within Mining, Quarrying, and Oil and Gas Extraction (Figure 6) can be grouped into three categories: 1. Conventional extraction of oil and natural gas; 2. Non-conventional oil extraction, which includes oil sands mining, in-situ bitumen production and upgrading; and 3. Mining of coal, metal ore (e.g. iron), and non-metallic minerals (e.g. potash and diamonds).

 

Figure 6: Reported 2012 GHG emissions by subsectors of Mining, Quarrying, and Oil and Gas Extraction (77 Mt CO2 eq)

Figure 6: Reported 2012 GHG emissions by subsectors of Mining, Quarrying, and Oil and Gas Extraction (77 Mt CO2 eq)

Long Description for Figure 6Figure 6 is a pie graph showing the breakdown of the 2012 greenhouse gas emissions reported by the Mining, Quarrying, and Oil and Gas Extraction sector by subsector. Non-conventional oil extraction and conventional oil and gas extraction accounted for the majority of these emissions at 71% and 18% respectively. Metal ore mining accounted for an additional 5%, coal mining for 4% and non-metallic mineral mining and quarrying for the remaining 2%.
Footnotes
Footnote 1

1 Mt = one million tonnes or one thousand kt.

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Footnote 2

GHGs are not equal in their effect on the atmosphere. Each GHG has a unique average atmospheric lifetime and heat-trapping potential. The GWPs used by the GHGRP are consistent with those used in Canada’s national GHG inventory. A complete list of GWPs is found in the Notice with respect to reporting of greenhouse gases (GHGs) for 2012.

Return to first footnote 2 referrer

Footnote 3

Additional information on these emission source categories can be found in the Technical Guidance on Reporting Greenhouse Gas Emissions.

Return to first footnote 3 referrer

Footnote 4

The NAICS is an industry classification system that was developed by the statistics agencies of Canada, the United States and Mexico to enable their national agencies to collect comparable statistical data. It is a comprehensive system that encompasses all economic activities using six-digit codes. In Canada, the NAICS consists of 20 sectors, 102 subsectors, 323 industry groups, 711 industries and 922 national industries.

Return to first footnote 4 referrer