Ottawa’s new GHG goal eyes fertilizer, chem sectors

(Photo courtesy Agrium)

The federal government’s new target, to cut the country’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 30 per cent below 2005 levels in the next 15 years, will involve new regulations on fertilizer and chemical companies’ output.

Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq announced the government’s new target and general plans on Friday in Winnipeg, but hasn’t yet specified what form its regulations will take.

The Tory government’s new target and planned regulations for several sectors “underscore our continued commitment to cut emissions at home and work with our international partners” on a new international emissions pact, she said.

Ottawa, she said, “will work co-operatively with the provinces and territories on these goals while respecting their jurisdiction.”

The government said Friday it has formally submitted its “intended nationally determined contribution” — its new target, in other words — to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

The government said its “co-operative action” will also extend to its “continental trading partners” such as the U.S., in “integrated sectors of the economy, including energy and transportation.”

Critics of the Tories’ new target say Canada is already set to miss its previous target of cutting GHG emissions by 17 per cent below 2005 levels by 2020, as per its commitment to the Copenhagen Accord in late 2009.

“Until today’s announcement is backed by a commitment to enacting policies that can actually achieve this new target, it isn’t worth the paper it is written on,” Keith Stewart of Greenpeace Canada said in a separate statement Friday.

“Regulatory certainty”

Industry groups such as the Canadian Fertilizer Institute and the ag chem trade body CropLife Canada had no official statements as of Saturday on the government’s announcement.

Production of chemicals and nitrogen fertilizers are “two of the largest sources of emissions from the manufacturing sector,” the government said Friday.

Action in both sectors, the government added, “would broaden the scope of Canada’s sector-by-sector approach to reduce GHG emissions while increasing regulatory certainty and guiding future growth and investment in this important industry.”

Once drafted, passed and brought into force, regulations to reduce GHG emissions from production of chemicals and nitrogen fertilizers would build on “action already taken in the transportation and electricity sectors,” the government said Friday.

Ottawa’s new target also involves plans for new regulations to cut methane emissions from the oil and gas sector, and regulations on GHG emissions from natural gas-fired electricity generation.

The government noted Friday that in 2014 it announced final regulations tightening emissions standards for cars and light trucks for model-year 2017 and beyond, and plans to regulate GHG emissions from post-2018 model-year on-road heavy-duty vehicles.

The government said it also plans to regulate hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), “among the most potent and fastest-growing GHGs in the world.”

Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) have been introduced in recent decades as substitutes for chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) in uses such as refrigerating, air conditioning and insulating foams, as CFCs have been phased out due to their effects on Earth’s ozone layer. — Network


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