Mapping Industrial Facility Greenhouse Gas Emissions in BC

Posted by: Conrad Koziol

Visualizations are a great tool for gaining intuition about a dataset. When the dataset has a geo-spatial component, overlaying the data on a map can be a starting point for exploratory analysis. In this blog post I want to share a map of industrial facility greenhouse gas emissions in British Columbia. It's based on this 2016 dataset, wich covers industrial facilities emitting 10,000 tonnes or more of carbon dioxide (C02) equivalent per year, as well electricity import operations in British Columbia.

Site Overview
Company Name:
Facility Name:
Primary Activity:

Emissions Data

* Volume is given in C02 equivalent
* Circle area on the map is proportional to total
  emissions from a site

Click on a circle to see the corresponding facility data

A few things are apparant from exploring the map:

  • There are only two types of facilities, both related to oil and gas.
  • Facilities are concentrated in the Northeast of British Columbia.
  • There are four facilities with relatively greater emissions than the rest.
  • The primary greenhouse gas emission is C02. Although some sites have significant CH4 emissions, there is little emission of other gases in the dataset.

This data suggests that efforts to reduce greenhouse gases from industrial sites will have concentrated impacts. It will primarily affect the oil and gas industry, and primarily affect the Northeast districts of Peace River, Fraser-Fort George, and Northern Rockies. Further, the four sites with greatest emissions are all owned by a single company. (Note: Enbridge and Spectra Energy Transmission merged in February 2017, after this dataset was released.)

What more could you do with this dataset? If your aim is to understand how industrial facility emissions have changed over time, this map can be extended to show facility emissions starting from 2010. Understanding trends in the data would be critical for measuring the impact of any new regulations. Since most of these industrial facilities are located in the Northeast of the province, it would be good to incorporate economic data to understand the importance of these facilities to to the job market and tax revenue of that region. It would also be intriguing to compare this data to other emission datasets, either from across the country, or from different economic sectors, to provide a better context of the relative magnitude of these greenhouse gas emissions.

When I first looked at the dataset, I was suprised that Vancouver Airport (YVR) wasn't on the list, nor any mining or forestry operations. They are likely under a different classification. For reference, YVR reports emissions of 311,304 tonnes C02 equivalent in the year 2012 when accounting for operations, purchased electricity, and aircraft landing, taxiing, and takeoffs. It would be the fifth large emitter of greenhouse gases in this dataset.

Data visualization allows us to understand complex datasets in concise manner. Visualizations can provide intuition, insight, and help us ask better questions. If you'd like to work with us on analyzing a dataset, or simply have a comment on this post, let us know here .