CEC - LOGO - 2013-14

COMMISSION FOR ENVIRONMENTAL COOPERATION

THREE COUNTRIES WORKING TOGETHER TO PROTECT OUR SHARED ENVIRONMENT


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Criteria Air Contaminants (CAC) and Greenhouse Gases (GHG)

CACs Carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, particulate matter, sulfur oxides and volatile organic compounds are a group of chemicals associated with environmental effects such as smog, acid rain and regional haze, and health effects such as respiratory illnesses. Major sources of CACs are the burning of fossil fuels, as well as natural resource extraction and a variety of manufacturing activities.

GHGs These pollutants contribute to climate change by trapping heat within the earth's atmosphere. GHGs are the subject of international treaties such as the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The major gases include carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and three groups of fluorinated gases. Some of the main anthropogenic sources of GHGs are the burning of fossil fuels, deforestation and agricultural activities.

Greenhouse gas emissions are usually reported in terms of equivalent mass of CO2 (CO2- eq), or the equivalent amount of CO2 that would be required to produce a similar warming effect in a hundred-year time-frame. The CO2-eq value is thus calculated by multiplying the amount of the gas emitted by its associated global warming potential (GWP). For example, the GWP for methane (CH4) is 21. Therefore, the CO2-eq of an emission of 3 tonnes (3 t) of methane equals 21 x 3 t = 63 t CO2-eq.

Annual facility-level data on CAC and GHG for 2009 are not available for all three countries. Information on national and facility-level emissions can be accessed through the links below:

Criteria Air Contaminants:

Greenhouse Gases: