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Interim Plan 2001 on Particulate Matter and Ozone

2.1 Transboundary Pollution

International cooperation for clean air is essential, particularly with the United States. Studies show that in some regions of eastern Canada, between 30 per cent and 90 per cent of smog comes from the United States.

In recognition of the critical importance of reducing smog, Canada and the United States recently signed the Ozone Annex to the Canada-U.S. Air Quality Agreement. The measures set out in the Annex are designed to reduce transboundary flows of ozone and bring cleaner air to more than 16 million Canadians in southern Ontario, southern Quebec and Atlantic Canada.

Under the Annex, the United States is committed to reducing emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOX) and volatile organic compounds (VOC) from 18 northern and northeastern states starting in 2004. The United States will reduce NOX emissions by 35 per cent by 2007, representing a 70 per cent reduction in U.S. emissions from power plants and major industrial sources during the summer months when smog creates the greatest health risk.

In Canada, we have put an annual cap of 39 kilotonnes on nitrogen dioxide (NO2) emissions from fossil fuel power plants in central and southern Ontario, and a five-kilotonne cap on NO2 emissions from southern Quebec by 2007. For Ontario, this represents a 50-per-cent reduction in power plant emissions of NO2 from the current 78 kilotonnes.

The implementation agenda for the Ozone Annex also includes: reducing NOX and VOC emissions from transportation sources; taking initial actions on a number of industrial sectors (e.g., the fossil fuel sector) and products (e.g., paints and coatings, degreasing agents and solvents); developing a regional risk analysis to characterize major sources of smog in eastern Canada; and developing new modeling applications to verify the impact of current and future actions.

Possible future areas of action

The Ozone Annex will be revisited in 2004 to gauge progress and determine if it should be expanded to include air pollution problems identified along the British Columbia-Washington State border,where air quality is of considerable concern to residents of the Fraser Valley in southern British Columbia.To that end, initial multi-stakeholder discussions have begun between Canada and the United States to identify common issues and discuss international airshed planning. Canada also wants to negotiate an Annex to the Canada-U.S. Air Quality Agreement that specifically relates to particulate matter.The Annex would focus on transboundary PM and the emissions that produce it. As well, Canada wants to continue work under the Canada-U.S. Air Quality Agreement to reduce emissions that cause acid rain.