Canada’s chemistry sector sees opportunities and challenges on the road to carbon zero
November 19, 2020
Canada’s chemistry industry shares Canadians concerns on the impacts of a changing climate and the urgency of reducing emissions in line with scientific evidence and Canada’s international commitments.
Achieving the ambitious goal of net-zero carbon emissions for all of Canada by 2050 will require chemistry-based solutions, says Bob Masterson, President and CEO of the Chemistry Industry Association of Canada.
“Our industry continues to be a solutions-provider to the world’s most challenging problems. We are ready to step up to the challenge, but we need close collaboration to meet this ambitious goal,” says Masterson. “Increasing global attention to mitigating carbon emissions presents an opportunity rather than a threat to Canada’s chemistry industry.”
Canada’s chemistry and plastics sectors create some of the lowest greenhouse gas-intensive products on the planet. Through the U.N. recognized sustainability initiative, Responsible Care®, CIAC’s members have engaged in safe, responsible, and sustainable chemical manufacturing for 35 years. Investments in research and innovation have allowed our sector to modify processes reducing our overall greenhouse gas emissions by 67 per cent since 1992. There is opportunity to do even more while providing Canadian-made products to help other sectors achieve further reductions.
To assist in meeting our shared objectives, our sector will be focused on working with federal and provincial governments in critical areas involving: carbon capture and storage; hydrogen production and utilization; energy efficiency; bio-based chemistries, and; creating a circular economy for plastics, which will allow carbon already in the economy (in the form of post-consumer use plastics) to be continuously recycled and avoid emissions from the production of new plastic resin.
Carefully designed, in collaboration with industry, Canada’s net zero carbon plan has the potential to strengthen Canada’s chemistry sector further and contribute to making Canada’s economy more resilient and competitive. Emission reductions in key sectors such as green buildings, sustainable transportation through light weighting vehicles for greater fuel efficiency, clean energy and sustainable agriculture would be impossible without chemistry and plastics.
To successfully transition to a low-carbon economy and achieve net-zero emission goals, the chemistry sector requires closer collaboration and alignment between the federal and provincial governments through: recognizing the important role of the chemistry sector in research, innovation, and the implementation of climate-focused solutions; promoting active engagement and collaboration with industry, and; supporting the low carbon transition of the chemistry sector.
Canada is a country with diverse energy resources and needs which will require regional solutions and a range of options to address the requirements of Canadians, businesses and industry. We also believe national standards and harmonization between the federal government and the provinces will be vital.
For more information, please see: Chemistry: Essential to Canada’s Transition to a Low-Carbon Energy Future.