Monday, November 6, 2017

GHG Emissions Down in Metro Vancouver. Air Quality Improving.

Earlier this summer, Metro Vancouver released its annual “Caring for the Air” report based on its extensive network of air quality monitoring stations. This report showed that over the last decade most air pollutants have been decreasing except for ground-level ozone. More information on this report is available in a previous blog post.

Metro Vancouver has now completed another report on air pollution in our region with information that goes back to 1995. This report, used for looking at longer-term trends, is completed every five years using emission inventory data. The good news is our air quality is getting better.

Greenhouse gas emissions are down in our region after peaking in the 1990s. A reduction in industrial activity, power generation (Burrard Thermal), and fuel consumption have helped lower GHG emissions even as the population grows. Even with this decrease, GHG emissions from motor vehicles are increasing.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions in the Lower Fraser Valley Airshed. Select chart to enlarge.

As I posted about previously, fine particulate matter emissions are also down across the region except for residential wood burning. This is why the regional district is looking at introducing regulations to encourage people to stop using wood-burning appliances.

Fine Particulate Matter in the Lower Fraser Valley Airshed. Select chart to enlarge.

Smog forming pollutants are also down over the last 20 years. This is mainly due to improved engine emissions standards and the former AirCare program.

Smog Forming Pollutants in the Lower Fraser Valley Airshed. Select chart to enlarge.

Over the last five years, many of these reductions have slowed. Further action will be required to ensure that air quality and GHG emissions continue to decrease in Metro Vancouver and the Lower Fraser Valley airshed, even as the population and economy continue to grow.

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