Greenhouse Gas Emissions per Person and per Unit Gross Domestic Product
Two ways to analyze how greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions relate to socio-economic developments in Canada are: the amount of GHGs emitted per person (GHGs per capita), and the amount of GHGs per unit of gross domestic product (GDP) (GHG intensity of the economy). These indicators show the relationship between the size of Canada’s population and the amount of GHGs emitted, and how efficiently sectors in the economy are minimizing GHG emissions while producing goods and services for our consumption and export.
The level of emissions per unit of GDP was 29% lower in 2012 than 1990. Over that period, GHG per unit of GDP decreased from 0.60 megatonnes (Mt) of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2 eq) per $billion GDPFootnote  in 1990 to 0.42 Mt CO2 eq per $billion GDP in 2012. The amount of GHGs emitted per person in Canada was 20.1 tonnes of CO2 eq in 2012, compared with 21.3 tonnes in 1990.
These improvements are attributable to a number of factors such as more efficient industrial processes, a shift to a more service-based economy and improvements in the emissions associated with energy generation (such as those realized through fuel switching).
Greenhouse gas emissions per person (GHGs per capita) and per unit of GDP (GHG intensity of the economy), Canada, 1990 to 2012
The line graph portrays a downward trend in Canada’s 1990 to 2012 greenhouse gas emissions produced per person and per unit of gross domestic product as a percent of 1990, expressed in tonnes of carbon dioxide per person and megatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent per $billion gross domestic product.
Note: The graph presents the ratio of annual GHG emissions per person and per unit of GDP relative to those values in 1990, i.e. the values are indexed to 1990. GHG per unit of GDP is calculated using the real inflation-adjusted GDP in 2007 dollars. Emission levels for some previous years have been revised in light of improvements to estimation methods and availability of new data.
Source: Environment Canada (2014) National Inventory Report 1990–2012: Greenhouse Gas Sources and Sinks in Canada.
- National Greenhouse Gas Emissions
- Greenhouse Gas Emissions by Economic Sector
- Greenhouse Gas Emissions by Province and Territory
- Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Large Facilities
- Global Carbon Dioxide Emissions from Fuel Combustion
- Footnote 1
GHG intensity per unit of GDP is calculated using the real inflation-adjusted GDP in 2007 dollars.
- Date Modified: