Canada’s low-carbon future needs chemistry industry solutions, CIAC report shows

From green buildings and clean energy, to sustainable transportation and agriculture, the Canadian chemistry sector is uniquely positioned to provide innovative solutions in the global fight against climate change, the Chemistry Industry Association of Canada (CIAC) outlined a in report today.

Entitled Chemistry: Essential to Canada’s Transition to a Low-Carbon Energy Future, the report charts a pathway for enabling policies that will leverage Canada’s low-carbon energy advantage. It was delivered to Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, Jim Carr, earlier this month as CIAC’s contribution to the work of the Minister’s Generation Energy Council.

“As we confront the impacts of climate change, exploring low-carbon energy solutions is top of mind for Canadians and policy makers. With the right policies, the chemistry sector could attract $25 billion in new investments by 2025 and significantly contribute to lowering greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions globally,” said CIAC President and CEO Bob Masterson.

“If Canada misses out on investment opportunities due to the competitive nature of the industry, production will shift to countries with more carbon-intensive chemical operations.”

The paper highlighted how Canada’s abundant, low-carbon resources, such as natural gas and natural gas liquids enable chemistry products that are 80 per cent less GHG-intensive than those from some European or Asian markets, which rely on crude oil or coal as their feedstock.

The report also outlines chemistry’s role in the circular economy and how the Canadian chemistry sector can become a world leader in low-intensity carbon chemical production through supportive policies.

Read the full report: Chemistry: Essential to Canada’s Transition to a Low-Carbon Energy Future.

Quick facts:

  • More than 95% of all manufactured products rely on chemistry. Globally, chemistry is a $5 trillion industry.
  • $53 billion-worth of Canadian chemical products were shipped in 2016.
  • As the 4th largest manufacturing sector in Canada, the industry is directly responsible for 87,000 jobs and supports another 525,000 jobs.
  • Canada’s chemistry sector is well positioned to leverage the country’s low-carbon resources — natural gas and natural gas liquids, hydroelectricity, and biomass.
  • Advances in climate-friendly technologies (e.g. building insulation, lighter plastics for automobiles, solar panels, wind turbines) are made possible through chemistry.
  • The Canadian chemistry sector has reduced its overall GHG emissions by 67% since 1992 as a result of significant investment.