Sulphur Oxide Emissions

In 2012, sulphur oxide (SOx) emissions decreased by 0.3%, or four kilotonnes (kt), from 2011 emission levels to reach 1266 kt. SOx emissions in 2012 were 1832 kt (59%) lower than in 1990.

This significant drop in SOx emissions is due in large part to government actions to fight acid rain and federal-provincial and United States agreements,Footnote [1],Footnote [2] on capping SOx emissions by 1994. Reductions were also realized through technological upgrades and new air pollution controls for non-ferrous metal smelters. Decreases also occurred mainly due to reductions in emissions from fossil-fuel (e.g. coal) fired power-generating utilities, plant closures, as well as a reduction in emissions from the petroleum refining sector. Further emissions reductions were achieved through the implementation of low-sulphur fuels.Footnote [3]

Sulphur oxide emissions, Canada, 1990 to 2012

Sulphur oxide emissions, Canada, 1990 to 2012

Long Description

The line chart shows sulphur oxide emissions in Canada from 1990 to 2012. In 2012, sulphur oxide emissions decreased by 0.3%, or four kilotonnes, from 2011 emission levels to reach 1266 kilotonnes. Sulphur oxide emissions in 2012 were 1832 kilotonnes or 59% lower than in 1990.

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How this indicator was calculated

Note: Emissions from natural sources (such as biogenics) and open sources (such as road dust) are not included. However, emissions from open sources related to waste (such as landfills) were included.
Source: Environment Canada (2014) 2012 Air Pollutant Emission Summaries and Historical Emission Trends.

Sources of sulphur oxide emissions

In 2012 the largest proportion of SOx emissions came from the non-ferrous smelting and refining, representing 27% (342 kt) of total emissions, followed by the oil and gas industry, representing 25% (321 kt) of total emissions. The fuel for electricity and heating source emitted a little less than 25% (313 kt) of the national emissions. The largest reduction in emissions between the years 1990 and 2012 was from non-ferrous smelting and refining with an emission reduction of 931 kt.

Sulphur oxide emissions by source, Canada, 1990 to 2012

Sulphur oxide emissions by source, Canada, 1990 to 2012

Long Description

The stacked area chart shows sulphur oxide emissions in Canada by source for the years 1990 to 2012. The emissions are expressed in kilotonnes. The largest reduction in emissions between the years 1990 and 2012 was from non-ferrous smelting and refining, with an emission reduction of 931 kilotonnes.

View data for this chart
How this indicator was calculated

Note: Emissions from natural sources (such as biogenics) and open sources (such as road dust) are not included. However, emissions from open sources related to waste (such as landfills) were included. The source "Other Industries" does not include SOx emissions from non-ferrous smelting and refining, as it is presented for the purpose of this chart as a stand-alone source. “Other Sources” include off-road vehicles, home firewood burning, incineration and miscellaneous, and transportation (road, rail, air and marine).
Source: Environment Canada (2014) 2012 Air Pollutant Emission Summaries and Historical Emission Trends.

Sulphur oxide emissions from facilities

Environment Canada’s National Pollutant Release Inventory (NPRI) provides detailed information on air pollutant emissions from industrial and commercial facilities. The Canadian Environmental Sustainability Indicators (CESI) program provides access to this information through an online interactive map.

With the CESI interactive map, you can drill down to local areas and obtain details on SOx emissions specific to reporting facilities.

Source: Environment Canada (2014) National Pollutant Release Inventory Online Data Search - Facility Reported Data.

Sulphur oxide emissions by province and territory

Environment Canada is currently revising, in collaboration with provincial/territorial counterparts, the breakdown of total emissions by province and territory to reflect methodological improvements. Consequently, air pollutant emissions by province and territory could not be included in the update of the indicator at this time.

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