CIAC’s Masterson to Senate: bad news if we don’t get greenhouse gas management policies right.

On February 28, Bob Masterson, CIAC President and CEO, and David Podruzny, Vice-President Business and Economics, appeared in front of the Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources to discuss greenhouse gas reduction policies. This appearance was a follow up to a meeting held last fall and the first since the committee toured several member sites in Sarnia in November.

During his opening remarks (available on video here), Masterson conveyed four key messages:

  1. The chemistry industry is a fast moving industry expected to reach 6 trillion per year globally by 2020.  Chemistry is the key solutions provider for many of the worlds sustainability problems.

  2. There are many different pathways to produce high-volume industrial chemicals. This has implications for greenhouse gas emissions as one moves further along the hydrocarbon molecule chain.
  3. Canada has some of the lowest carbon feedstocks on earth which, when combined with a largely decarbonized electricity sector and burgeoning biochemical industry, provides us an opportunity to become a global leader in low carbon chemical production.
  4. The path Canada is on will result in under-utilization of Canada’s low carbon chemistry feedstocks and an otherwise over-utilization of higher carbon feedstocks from other jurisdictions to meet global chemistry demand.  This is poor public policy.

The appearance included an hour-long question and answer period with the committee members, which gave Masterson and Podruzny the chance to further expand on the chemistry industry’s message. Both worked to convey that Canadian produced chemical products are part of the answer to the world’s most pressing sustainability problems, including climate change, and that new investments in the sector will help reduce the inefficient and dated use of resources in other parts of the globe.

As the committee moves closer to making their recommendations, Masterson asked them to carefully consider the cumulative policy burden Canadian chemical producers are being asked to shoulder. Failure to do so would be bad for business, bad for workers and the communities in which we operate, bad for Canada’s trade balance and its future economic prospects and, ultimately, bad for global greenhouse gas emissions.