Articles related to air quality

Tackling climate change needs chemistry, CIAC tells Sixth Estate panel

The chemistry sector is uniquely qualified to help tackle the global issue of climate change, Bob Masterson President and CEO of CIAC, told a panel discussion on climate change In Ottawa January 31.

Pictured: Catherine Clark and CIAC President and CEO Bob Masterson

The Climate Change and the Environment panel, organized by the Sixth Estate News online broadcaster, also included leader of the Green Party, Elizabeth May; Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Sean Fraser; and the vice-president of federal affairs for the Insurance Bureau of Canada, Craig Stewart. It was moderated by Catherine Clark.

David Coletto, CEO of Abacus Data also provided interesting findings showing that the majority of Canadians think climate change is an important problem and that they didn’t know which political party was best suited to tackle the problem.

“Chemistry is a key driver to sustainability and Canada has a low carbon feedstock making us carbon-advantaged over other jurisdictions that use coal,” said Mr. Masterson. “So how do we make these changes happen faster? Price the things you don’t want – like carbon, GHGs – and reward the things you do want – like jobs and growth.”

Ms. May even jumped in to support Mr. Masterson’s comments on the U.N. Kigali Accord, which came out of the Montreal Protocol in the 1980’s, starting in 2019, new refrigerants from the chemistry sector will avoid 0.5 C of global temperature increases, making them the single largest contributor to addressing climate change to date.

“We can, when we seek to do it, make real change,” Ms. May told the panel. “Like the Montreal Protocol to protect the ozone layer in the late ‘80s, we can take the same approach with climate change. We have to talk about our success stories.”

Other panelists included Dale Marshall, national program manager at Environmental Defence, Rachel Curran, principal at Harper and Associates and Velma McColl, managing principal at Earnscliffe Strategy Group, in a segment hosted by Global News Chief Political Correspondent David Akin.

Watch the recording or read a full rundown of the panel discussion.
Read Bob Masterson’s opinion piece Chemistry: Essential to Canada’s Transition to a Low-Carbon Energy Future

CIAC supportive of Ontario’s move to modernize sulphur dioxide operating conditions

CIAC recently submitted recommendations in response to the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change’s Environmental Bill of Rights (EBR) posting relating to air emissions of sulphur dioxide and transitional operating conditions. CIAC’s comments support the Ministry’s effort to modernize the Ambient Air Quality Criteria (AAQC)and Air Standards for SO2 and provide more clarification on requirements for assessing operating conditions in O. Reg. 419/05.

In its submission, CIAC notes that current SO2 standards are 40 years old and their update could greatly assist in creating an even cleaner environment.  CIAC pointed out that because of the Responsible Care® ethic, Ontario members have already made significant progress since 2004 in reducing their SO2 emissions by 84 per cent.

CIAC believes the ministry can proceed in a manner which achieves health and environment objectives and supports the ability and need to attract new investments and promote local cluster development.   CIAC member-companies in Ontario continue to be willing partners committed to working with local community stakeholders in achieving improved environmental outcomes on all fronts.

Read CIAC’s submission here.

CIAC and CFA advise Minister Ballard on proposed Sarnia-Lambton health study

On November 28 and 29, the Chemistry Industry Association of Canada (CIAC) and the Canadian Fuels Association (CFA) met key officials at Queen’s Park to reinforce their support for the Ontario government’s recent decision to fund a health study to determine the impact of the local petrochemical industry on the health of Sarnia-Lambton residents and of the Aamjiwnaang First Nation.

Meeting with Minister of Environment and Climate Change Chris Ballard and other officials, CIAC and CFA outlined four key points:

  1. Industry needs to be consulted and involved as the health study moves forward;
  2. The study must be responsive to the needs and expectations of the Sarnia-Lambton and Aamjiwnaang communities;
  3. It must be scientifically credible and build on the work previously undertaken by the Sarnia-Lambton Health Study team; and
  4. Efforts between the Ontario Ministry of Health and Ministry of Environment and Climate Change must be coordinated, as well as efforts between the Province of Ontario and the Government of Canada. 

CIAC will be meeting with relevant officials in Ottawa prior to year-end to reinforce these messages at the federal level.

Ontario chemistry industry welcomes comprehensive air quality study in Sarnia

The Chemistry Industry Association of Canada (CIAC) welcomes Minister Ballard’s announcement of a comprehensive air quality and health impacts study for the Sarnia community. The Association has always been a strong advocate of such studies with both the Ontario and federal governments.

“As Responsible Care® companies, CIAC members are firmly dedicated to the protection of human health and the environment,” said Bob Masterson, CIAC President and CEO. “We know that we are accountable to the public, especially local communities, who have the right to understand both the risks and benefits of what we do. We are also committed to dialogue and engagement with all stakeholders and recognize the Aamjiwnaang First Nation as a distinct component of the broader Sarnia community.”

Benzene and Volatile Organic Compound (VOCs) emissions are of special concern to our industry, regulators, and the Sarnia community. CIAC Responsible Care member-companies signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Governments of Canada and Ontario in 1994 to reduce benzene emissions by 70 per cent before 2001. Not only were those targets achieved, but today benzene releases from our operations are 97 per cent below 1994 levels. Building on the success of that initiative, a similar MOU was established in 1997, calling for a 25 per cent reduction in VOC emissions by 2002. Today, our industry’s VOC emissions are 75 per cent lower than in 1997.

During recent months our industry has been a full participant in several productive regulatory processes led by the Ontario Ministry of Environment and Climate Change, with a particular focus on air quality issues in the Sarnia community.

“Despite past progress, we understand that public attention is often focused on the environmental performance of our industry,” added Masterson. “As has been the case for the past 30 years, we remain fully committed to continuous improvement in our performance and to productive engagement with all stakeholders.”

CIAC member-companies welcome the opportunity to support and fully participate in Minister Ballard’s proposed study.

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