The importance of policy in emissions inventory accuracy--a lesson from British Columbia, Canada

J Air Waste Manag Assoc. 2009 Apr;59(4):430-9. doi: 10.3155/1047-3289.59.4.430.


Actual atmospheric emissions in northeast British Columbia, Canada, are much higher than reported emissions. The addition of upstream oil and gas sector sources not included in the year-2000 emissions inventory of Criteria Air Contaminants (CACs) increases annual totals of nitrogen oxides, sulfur oxides, and volatile organic compound emissions by 115.1, 89.9, and 109.5%, respectively. These emissions arise from numerous small and unregulated point sources (N = 10,129). CAC summaries are given by source type and source sector. An analysis of uncertainty and reporting policy suggests that inventory omissions are not limited to the study area and that Canadian pollutant emissions are systematically underestimated. The omissions suggest that major changes in reporting procedures are needed in Canada if true estimates of annual pollutant emissions are to be documented.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollutants / analysis*
  • Air Pollutants / chemistry
  • Air Pollution / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • British Columbia
  • Environment
  • Environmental Health / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Environmental Health / standards
  • Hydrogen Sulfide / analysis
  • Public Policy


  • Air Pollutants
  • Hydrogen Sulfide