Articles related to the low carbon economy

Addressing public perception of the chemistry industry and how to improve it

 

CIAC President and CEO, Bob Masterson, discussed the pressing issue of marine litter, plastic waste and how to change the public’s perception of the chemistry industry in a keynote address at the annual Chemistry Canada Conference in Edmonton on September 25.

Mr. Masterson presented findings from a survey of Canadians’ perception on plastics, explained how plastics are essential to our modern and sustainable way of life, and what the chemistry industry must do to turn public perception around.

CIAC congratulates Elysis for new carbon-free aluminum production process

Congratulations to Canadian aluminum sector leaders Alcoa, Alcana and Apple who, with the support of the Federal and Quebec Governments, have developed a new carbon-free aluminum production process that will eventually result in annual greenhouse gas reductions of more than six million tons in Canada alone.

“The process relies upon decades of research in totally new chemical reactions from those associated with carbon-based production methods,” said Vincent Christ, CEO of Elysis, the new joint venture.

This success illustrates that by working together, the resource, manufacturing and chemistry sectors can point the way to a more sustainable future while growing the economy, here in Canada, while at the same time reducing emissions. The new venture will be in Quebec and export the technology throughout the rest of the world.

Alcoa and Rio Tinto announce world’s first carbon-free aluminum Smelting Process

$558 million investment project will create and maintain thousands of jobs in Canada

Chemistry sector addressing plastic waste head on

As our leaders head to the G7 Summit in Charlevoix, Quebec on June 8 with the intention of proposing the “Paris Agreement for marine litter,” and as our colleagues at Plastics Europe and the American Chemistry Council propose aggressive targets to curb plastic waste, we are now at a decisive moment when it comes to public policy and the global plastics value chain.

I am confident that this inflection point will create conditions for optimism, innovation and meaningful progress in the Canadian chemistry and plastics sector, as we chart the way to a future with zero waste.

As part of this leadership, CIAC has partnered with the Canadian Plastics Industry Association and their members to announce the following waste reduction targets:

  • an aspirational goal of 100 per cent of plastics packaging is re-used, recycled, or recovered by 2040, and
  • an aggressive interim goal of 100 per cent of plastics packaging is recyclable or recoverable by 2030.

These targets will not be easy to achieve. They will require actions on behalf of all society. Likewise, the issue of marine litter requires all industry, every citizen and every government on the planet to come together.

We can all agree that plastics do not belong in the ocean, nor in any other water way – period. It is a significant waste of precious resources for plastics to be used once and then discarded as waste.

However, plastics remain central to our future. They are a key enabler to our modern and more sustainable way of living. They keep food fresher for longer, they make our cars and homes more energy efficient, they provide exceptional convenience and they do all that in a way that is cost effective and with clear environmental benefits over alternatives.

Industry, along with federal and provincial and municipal policy makers and other policy influencers, need to begin to work closer together to create the conditions where the value of plastics can be realized more than once, and in some cases multiple times across their lifecycle. Part of our role will include designing materials and applications for greater recovery, reuse and recyclability.

We also need to think globally. Neither Canada nor any other G7 nation is anywhere near being a significant contributor to ocean plastics litter. The nations that are key contributors need urgent technical and financial assistance to ensure access to modern, efficient waste management services which we in Canada largely take for granted.

In Canada and other G7 nations, we need to think differently about plastics and stop seeing them as a waste that needs to be eliminated. The chemistry industry is ready and willing to address this new challenge head on.

Panelists discuss Canada’s low carbon future at the Industrial Gas Users Association’s Spring Seminar

CIAC President and CEO Bob Masterson gave a brief overview of chemistry’s role in Canada’s transition to the low-carbon energy future at a panel for the Industrial Gas Users Association Spring Seminar in Montebello, Quebec on Tuesday, May 15.

The topic of the seminar panel was Heavy Industry is Necessary in Canada’s Low Carbon Future. Speakers touched on topics such as the Paris Accord, the Pan-Canadian Framework, as well as near-term and long-term targets.

“Demand for chemistry products are forecast to triple in the next 20 years. And it isn’t hard to see why: the products our members make enable our modern, more sustainable way of life,” Mr. Masterson told the crowd.

“We all need sound policies from our government that encourage growth while meeting the needs of our global commitments to sustainability. The world truly needs more good chemistry – made-in-Canada chemistry – to meet our low-carbon goals.”

The invitation only, two-day event included key natural gas stakeholders including users, pipelines and utilities, marketers, regulators and policy makers. Other participants in the panel discussion included the Mining Association of Canada, the Forest Products Association of Canada and the Canadian Steel Producers Association.

Moving to zero waste will require industry, government and society collaboration, says CIAC

On April 24, the G7 Plastics Industry Coalition, including CIAC and representatives from our membership, met with government officials and other stakeholders in the plastics value chain to discuss Canada’s objectives for the G7 Plastics Charter, which the government plans to promote at the G7 in Quebec this June.

The event was organized by the Coalition, which was founded by CIAC, Canadian Plastics Industry Association (CPIA) and the American Chemistry Council Plastics Division (ACC PD), to represent industry perspectives in the global and domestic plastics dialogue. CIAC President and CEO Bob Masterson gave opening remarks for the workshop, setting the stage for collaborative discussion.

“It is undisputable that plastics do not belong in the ocean, nor in any other water way – period. It is indeed a significant waste of precious resources for plastics to be used once and then discarded as waste,” he told attendees. “However, plastics are not a scourge. They are, in fact, a fundamental contributor and key enabler to modern more sustainable living.”

Industry has a role to play in designing materials and applications for greater recovery, reuse and recyclability, Mr. Masterson told the audience, but addressing the issue of marine litter and plastic waste will require actions from society as a whole, not just industry.

“Our efforts will fail if the highly responsible and highly innovative plastics industry is set up as a villain for a marine litter issue that needs to be owned by every citizen and every government on the planet,” he said.

Also in attendance were: Carol Hochu of CPIA, Keith Christman of ACC PD, representatives from the Retail Council of Canada, the Canadian Beverage Association, Canada Fibres, Pembina Pipeline Corporation/ CKPC, InterPipeline, Emterra Group, Ice River Springs, Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, Natural Resources Canada and Environment and Climate Change Canada.

The day-long workshop was very well received by all attendees. CIAC and its partners in the G7 Plastics Industry Coalition will continue to regularly collaborate with the federal government and other stakeholders on the Plastics Charter in the lead up to the June G7 meeting.

Learn about chemistry’s role in clean tech and the low-carbon economy at the Sixth Estate

Please join Shannon Watt, CIAC Director of Environment and Health Policy, on May 1 for what promises to be a lively discussion on the growing business of clean tech in Canada.

From building insulation and lighter plastics for vehicles, to solar panels and wind turbines, the products that will help move society to a more sustainable future need chemistry. Canada must fully develop the potential of its chemistry industry so it can deliver solutions to reduce emissions both within the industry, throughout Canada and around the world.

Read Shannon’s op-ed on the topic here.

 The Sixth Estate Before the Bell panel discussion

National Arts Centre, 1 Elgin Street, Ottawa Ontario

May 1, 2018. 7:30 to 9a.m. ET

Speakers include:

  • Shannon Watt, CIAC Director of Environment and Health Policy
  • Industry experts from Export Development Canada, Business Development Bank of Canada, Ecotech Quebec and the Globe and Mail.

If you are not able to attend in person, watch live online here.

Determining chemistry’s role in Canada’s low carbon future

“How can we reconcile our ambitions to grow Canada's chemistry sector at a time when the nation has made a commitment to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 30 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030?”

That is the key question Bob Masterson, President and CEO of the Chemistry Industry Association of Canada (CIAC) chose to answer in an upbeat presentation to the Alberta Industrial Heartland Stakeholder Conference in Edmonton on January 25. 

He emphasized that determining chemistry's vital role in Canada's low carbon energy future goes to the very heart of determining the future of the chemistry industry in Canada. 

Masterson noted that Canada's advantage includes the type of feedstock utilized – natural gas, for example, as opposed to other jurisdictions that make the same chemicals using coal as a feedstock – meaning that right from the beginning our chemistry industry is cleaner, more efficient and less carbon emitting.  In fact, Masterson pointed out recent recommendations for lowering GHG emissions of chemistry producers in Europe look a lot like what Canada already has in place. 

“What I want you to understand clearly and be able to communicate to others is that Canada is uniquely advantaged to respond to the growing global demand for innovative, low carbon products, while at the same time addressing the climate change challenge both in our own sector, as well as in others.”

Masterson concluded by noting that to grow and sustain Canada's low carbon chemistry sector, what is ultimately needed are more supportive policies that promote investment and growth in the sector. 

“When it comes to climate change, the world truly needs more, not less, good chemistry, and more not less, made-in-Canada chemistry.”

Minister of Natural Resources challenges CIAC to write the chapter on energy value-added processing for Canada’s energy strategy

Speaking to the CIAC Board of Directors on October 17, in Ottawa, the Honourable Jim Carr, Minister of Natural Resources, challenged CIAC and its members to contribute to Canada’s energy strategy by submitting the chapter on energy value-added processing.

“I understand the important role of chemistry in supporting the Canada’s energy transition. I don’t need to be convinced,” said the Minister. “What I do need is for this industry to help inform others and to tell us what the government can do to support investment and innovation in Canada’s chemistry sector.”   

“You play a vital role in the Canadian economy and your industry has world leading environmental practices,” he told the room. “The world is hungry for our resources. When I go to India and China and Japan, the only thing they want to talk about is imported Canadian liquid natural gas.”

Minister Carr spoke to the CIAC Board on the heels of the Generation Energy dialogue he hosted in Winnipeg, Manitoba the week prior. Attended by nearly 800 Canadians, the forum involved challenging discussions on the pace of transition to a low carbon economy in Canada and the role of conventional energy sources during that transition. 

Speaking on behalf of CIAC member-companies, CIAC President and CEO Bob Masterson called on Minister Carr and his counterpart in Finance to be more engaged in the climate change policy and pricing discussions.

“Industry can accept that there is a need for an economic transformation to support Canada’s transition to a low carbon economy. What we can’t accept is that this transformation will be led by ministries of environment federally and provincially. To succeed, economically oriented departments such as finance, resources, and innovation are going to have to get much more engaged in the discussion if we’re to maintain competitiveness and attract investment opportunity,” Masterson said.  

Alberta’s energy diversification should focus on converting energy into manufactured products and adding value to natural gas

On March 20, CIAC President and CEO Bob Masterson, along with the Chairs of the Association’s National and Alberta Business & Economics committees – Mike Burt, Dow Chemical, and Corinne Dueck, MEGlobal – appeared before the Energy Diversification Advisory Committee in Edmonton to deliver recommendations on adding value to Alberta’s energy resources. 

CIAC agrees with the Alberta government’s long-term vision for economic diversification and believes that moving up the resource value chain with value-added resource processing is integral to achieving this goal. Specifically, CIAC believes the natural gas value chain is ripe for further investment given the abundance of liquids rich natural gas resources in the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin.

Investment in value-added resource processing can also help smooth the boom and bust cycle of resource revenue to the province as the chemistry sector often runs countercyclical to the resource sector providing high paying jobs and needed investment when resource prices are low.

To help attract investment, CIAC is encouraged by the Alberta government's use of the Royalty system through the Petrochemicals Diversification Program. CIAC recommended that further support in the form of 100 per cent accelerated capital cost allowance at the federal and provincial levels as well as additional targeted support from all levels of government – federal, provincial, and municipal – be considered to overcome the investment advantages found in competing jurisdictions such as the U.S. Gulf Coast.

We encourage you to read CIAC’s full submission to the Energy Diversification Advisory Committee and to view the presentation given by Mr. Masterson.