Many sources of air pollutants and greenhouse gases can be found in our current patterns of energy production and consumption, as well as in our manufacturing industries and in the products we produce and use.
Pollution sources include:
- Fossil fuels
- Electricity Generation
- Industrial Energy Use
- Aluminium and Alumina
- Iron and Steel
- Base Metals Smelters and Refineries and Zinc Plants
- Pulp and Paper
- Lumber and Allied Wood Products
- Transboundary air movements
- Consumer and Commercial Products
Some of the substances classified as air pollutants are naturally occurring, and come from sources such as conifer forests, forest fires, soil erosion, volcanoes, dust storms, and sea spray. Life as we know it may not have been possible without the presence of these substances on Earth. However, the addition of air pollutants from human sources can significantly change or impact the earth's natural life processes.
We can most effectively reduce pollution that comes from our own behaviours and activities. Canadian governments, along with industry, non-government organizations, and individuals are all taking action and doing their part to reduce emissions of harmful air pollutants from human sources. The challenge is to balance the needs of Canadians for transport, energy, and goods with environmental protection goals.
Significant advancements have been made through the government's 10-year Clean Air Agenda. In addition, the federal government requires many industrial sources of pollution to prepare pollution prevention (P2) plans which outline ways to modify production processes, reformulate and redesign products, introduce substitute materials, improve management and training, install new and cleaner technologies, and increase energy conservation.
Many companies within industries such as petroleum and fossil-fuel based electricity generation, among others, have shifted their portfolio to include a broader range of energy sources (e.g., solar, wind, water, earth, biomass, and waste) as a way to participate in the rapid growth of the renewable energy and renewable low-impact electricity industries. Their efforts recognize and facilitate the many environmental, economic and employment opportunities offered by renewable energy sources. The expected result is that renewable energy will be able to meet a greater share of our energy needs.
To learn more about what the federal government is doing in regards to pollution prevention and energy, visit:
- Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA 1999) Registry
- National Office of Pollution Prevention
- Canada's Clean Energy Portal
- CANMet Energy Technology Centre
- Office of Energy Efficiency
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