Canada’s Clean Tech Fu­ture needs chem­istry in­dus­try so­lu­tions

Policy - - Opinion -

Cana­di­ans and pol­icy mak­ers are seek­ing to tran­si­tion to the low-car­bon econ­omy and ad­dress the chal­lenges of cli­mate change. Canada’s chem­istry sec­tor and its highly skilled work­ers are uniquely po­si­tioned to de­liver the so­lu­tions.

Canada’s chem­istry in­dus­try is the fourth-largest man­u­fac­tur­ing sec­tor in Canada, di­rectly re­spon­si­ble for 87,000 jobs while sup­port­ing an­other 525,000. crom build­ing in­su­la­tion to so­lar pan­els, the prod­ucts that will help move so­ci­ety to a more sus­tain­able fu­ture need chem­istry. But the in­dus­try is also look­ing in­ter­nally to re­duce its eco­log­i­cal foot­print. By im­ple­ment­ing best-avail­able tech­nolo­gies, the sec­tor has been able to re­duce its green­house gas (GeG) emis­sions by 67 per cent since 1992.

Chem­istry en­ables green tech­nol­ogy

In Canada, the build­ing sec­tor is re­spon­si­ble for 40 per cent of GeG. Chem­istry prod­ucts such as in­su­la­tion, win­dow coat­ings, re­flec­tive roof­ing and other in­no­va­tive chem­istry-based ma­te­ri­als dra­mat­i­cally lower these emis­sions by re­duc­ing heat loss and the de­mand for cooling.

Re­duc­ing GeG in trans­porta­tion also pro­vides op­por­tu­nity for in­no­va­tion. Lighter ve­hi­cles, al­ter­na­tive fu­els and mov­ing to elec­tric ve­hi­cles will de­pend on ad­vances in ma­te­ri­als, fuel and en­ergy stor­age de­vel­oped through chem­istry.

Chem­istry is also a crit­i­cal part of nearly ev­ery re­new­able power gen­er­a­tion source. crom the com­pos­ite ma­te­ri­als in wind tur­bine blades, to so­lar pan­els and bat­ter­ies, chem­istry is es­sen­tial.

Canada’s chem­istry sec­tor is mov­ing us to a low car­bon fu­ture

Canada’s abun­dant, low-car­bon re­sources, such as nat­u­ral gas and nat­u­ral gas liq­uids, hy­dro­elec­tric­ity and biomass, en­able chem­istry prod­ucts that are 80 per cent less GeG-in­ten­sive than those from some

Euro­pean or Asian mar­kets, which rely on higher-car­bon feed­stocks such as crude oil or coal.

The Cana­dian chem­istry sec­tor is do­ing even more to re­duce its eco­log­i­cal foot­print by im­ple­ment­ing green tech­nol­ogy at its fa­cil­i­ties. Canada’s mod­ern and highly in­no­va­tive chem­istry fa­cil­i­ties in­clude con­tin­u­ously up­graded equip­ment, re-en­gi­neered pro­cesses and prod­ucts, and one of the low­est GHG-in­ten­sive na­tional elec­tric­ity grids. We can do more

With the right poli­cies and sup­port from gov­ern­ment, the chem­istry sec­tor could at­tract $25 bil­lion in new in­vest­ments by 2025. The pos­i­tive im­pact of this new in­vest­ment will not only spur eco­nomic growth and drive in­no­va­tion — it will lever­age the al­ready con­sid­er­able con­tri­bu­tion that the Cana­dian chem­istry sec­tor makes in meet­ing rapidly grow­ing global mar­ket de­mand for chem­i­cals with the low­est car­bon pro­duc­tion avail­able.

Read more in our re­port Chem­istry: Es­sen­tial to Canada’s Tran­si­tion to a Low-Car­bon En­ergy Fu­ture at cana­di­an­chem­istry.ca

Shan­non Watt is the Di­rec­tor of En­vi­ron­ment and Health Pol­icy at the Chem­istry In­dus­try As­so­ci­a­tion of Canada (CIAC).

Con­trib­uted to the Sixth Es­tate – The views and opin­ions ex­pressed in this ar­ti­cle are those of the au­thors and do not nec­es­sar­ily re­flect the of­fi­cial pol­icy or po­si­tion of the Sixth Es­tate.

Shan­non Watt DI­REC­TOR OF EN­VI­RON­MENT AND HEALTH POL­ICY AT THE CHEM­ISTRY IN­DUS­TRY AS­SO­CI­A­TION OF CANADA

Su­san Dela­court, Den­nis Le­clerc, Pres­i­dent & CEO at Écotech Québec, Velma McColl, Managing Prin­ci­pal at Earn­scliffe Strat­egy Group and Scott Thur­low, Lawyer & Past Pres­i­dent at Re­new­able Fu­els As­so­ci­a­tion.

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