International Comparison: Air Pollutant Emissions

Canada’s air pollutant emissions are compared with nine selected industrialized countries (United States, France, Germany, United Kingdom, Italy, Russia, Japan, Australia and Sweden) for the years 2000 and 2010. The air pollutant total emissions and ratio of emissions to gross domestic product (GDP) are provided for sulphur oxides (SOx), nitrogen oxides (NOx), volatile organic compounds (VOC), and ammonia (NH3).

Overall, most of these countries have reduced their total emissions since 2000. The exceptions are Australia, which has seen an increase in SOx and NOx emissions, as well as Russia, where NOx and NH3 emissions have increased. Canada ranked fifth for SOx emissions, seventh for NOx emissions, sixth for VOC emissions and seventh for NH3 emissions in terms of the percentage of emission reduction between 2000 and 2010 levels. In 2010, Canadian emissions decreased respectively by 41%, 19%, 19% and 3% from 2000 levels (SOx, NOx, VOC and NH3).

International demand for Canada's natural resources, amongst the largest of the G8 countries, contributes substantially to Canada's air pollutant emissions, as Canada's industrial sectors extract and use these resources to produce raw materials and finished goods destined for the rest of the world.

Sulphur oxides

Although Canada’s SOx emissions declined by 41% in 2010 from 2000 levels, Canada ranked third in SOx emissions in 2010 and had the second largest ratio of emissions to GDP in US$ millions at purchasing power parity (PPP) among the 10 selected countries.

Sulphur oxide emissions by country, 2000 and 2010

Sulphur oxide emissions by country, 2000 and 2010

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How this indicator was calculated

Note: Definitions of pollution sources and estimation methods may differ from country to country. Comparisons should be made with caution. GDP values are in constant US$, constant purchase power parities (PPP), reference year 2005, millions.
Source: European Monitoring and Evaluation Programme (2012) Centre on Emission Inventories and Projections database; United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) (2012) National Inventory Submission 2012; GDP Statistics: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) (2012) StatExtracts.

Nitrogen oxides

Canada ranked fourth in NOx emissions among the 10 selected countries in 2010. When considering the ratio of emissions to GDP, Canada ranked second for NOx amongst the selected countries, behind Australia.

Nitrogen oxide emissions by country, 2000 and 2010 

Nitrogen oxide emissions by country, 2000 and 2010 

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How this indicator was calculated

Note: Definitions of pollution sources and estimation methods may differ from country to country. Comparisons should be made with caution. GDP values are in constant US$, constant purchase power parities (PPP), reference year 2005, millions..
Source: European Monitoring and Evaluation Programme (2012) Centre on Emission Inventories and Projections database; United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) (2012) National Inventory Submission 2012; GDP Statistics: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and development (OECD) (2012) StatExtracts.

Volatile organic compounds

Canada ranked fourth for total VOC emissions among the 10 selected countries. When considering the ratio of emissions to GDP, Canada ranked second amongst the selected countries behind Australia.

Volatile organic compound emissions by country, 2000 and 2010

Volatile organic compound emissions by country, 2000 and 2010

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How this indicator was calculated

Note: Definitions of pollution sources and estimation methods may differ from country to country. Comparisons should be made with caution. GDP values are in constant US$, constant purchase power parities (PPP), reference year 2005, millions.
Source: European Monitoring and Evaluation Programme (2012) Centre on Emission Inventories and Projections database; United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) (2011) National Inventory Submission 2012; GDP Statistics: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and development (OECD) (2012) StatExtracts.

Ammonia

Canada ranked fifth in total NH3 emissions among the 8 selected countries but ranked second when considering the ratio of emissions to GDP in 2010, behind Russia. Japan and Australia were not included in the comparison due to the unavailability of comparable data.

Ammonia emissions by country, 2000 and 2010

Ammonia emissions by country, 2000 and 2010

View data for this chart
How this indicator was calculated

Note: Definitions of pollution sources and estimation methods may differ from country to country. Comparisons should be made with caution. GDP values are in constant US$, constant purchase power parities (PPP), reference year 2005, millions.
Source: European Monitoring and Evaluation Programme (2012) Centre on Emission Inventories and Projections database; GDP Statistics: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and development (OECD) (2012) StatExtracts; U.S. EPA (2012) National Emissions Inventory (NEI) Air Pollutant Emissions Trends Data.

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