After reducing GHG emissions by 30%, Quebec’s aluminium smelters are ready to assist the transportation sector with its efforts

Consultations on the 2030 GHG reduction target:

After reducing GHG emissions by 30%, Quebec’s aluminium smelters are ready to assist the transportation sector with its efforts

Montreal, October 20, 2015 – As part of the Quebec government’s consultations on the greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction target for 2030, the Aluminium Association of Canada (AAC) notes that Quebec’s aluminium smelters have already reduced their emissions by 30% since 1990 and that, as a result of major investments, the Quebec industry is now the most carbon-efficient producer of aluminium in the world. Having reached the limit of what technology can do to reduce its GHG emissions, the AAC would like its carbon footprint to be publically recognized and is calling for greater efforts from the transportation sector, which is responsible for nearly half (45%) of all GHG emissions in Quebec and whose emissions have grown 32.4% since 1990.

The AAC also points out that increased use of aluminium, notably to reduce the weight of automobiles and public transit equipment, could contribute significantly to reducing GHG emissions. The Quebec government’s recently adopted aluminium development strategy (SQDA) recognizes that aluminium smelters play an important role in Quebec’s economic development and the fight against climate change, and could continue to play an even greater one.

“We successfully reduced our emissions by 30% while doubling production. It would be difficult if not impossible for us to do more right now because, technologically, we have pushed our processes as far as they can go. We did our part in making a direct contribution, but the AAC is still willing to do more and support reduction initiatives in the transportation sector by working on integrating aluminium to make vehicles lighter,” says AAC President and CEO Jean Simard.

Transportation sector: a prime target

“The industrial sector’s GHG reduction efforts over the past 20 years have been completely offset by growth in road transportation. As Quebec’s industries and aluminium smelters worked to reduce their emissions by 6.5 MT, the road transportation sector, and especially SUVs, pickups, and commercial trucks, increased emissions by 6.7 MT,” notes Jean Simard. To this effect, the AAC supports the Quebec government’s commitment to adopting a zero-emission vehicle standard (ZEV), one of the objectives announced in the 2015–2020 transportation electrification action plan.

Promoting the world’s most carbon-efficient aluminium

Rather than taxing the world class performance of a globally competitive industry by asking it to do even more, Quebec should recognize the incredible strategic advantage that comes from having the world’s most carbon-efficient aluminium industry, as it did in the aluminium development strategy (SQDA). Quebec should begin actively promoting the aluminium produced within the province, as called for in the SQDA. Over 70% of growing global demand will be met by carbon-intensive foreign aluminium. The Quebec aluminium industry could develop into the world’s best source for a metal that is, in itself, part of the solution to the fight against climate change.

Other AAC recommendations to the Commission

The AAC is asking that past reductions be recognized and that decision makers take into account each sector’s specific limitations when setting targets. The AAC also recommends that the government set rules for how the cap-and-trade system for greenhouse gas emission allowances will work now and for the long term so that Quebec industry players, including those in the aluminium sector, keep evolving in a foreseeable business environment while maintaining their competitive position in the international market.

Finally, the AAC contends that imposing additional reductions on the aluminium industry would compromise the completion of development projects supported by the government under the SQDA. 

About the Aluminium Association of Canada (AAC)
The Aluminium Association of Canada brings together the three leading primary aluminium producers in Canada. These businesses operate ten aluminium smelters, including nine in Quebec, and employ over 10,000 people. More information:



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Marie-Eve Roy

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