Greenhouse Gas Emissions per Person and per Unit Gross Domestic Product

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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 32% lower in 2014 than 1990. Over that period, GHG per unit of GDP decreased from 0.62 megatonnes (Mt) of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2 eq) per $billion GDFootnote [1] in 1990 to 0.42 Mt CO2 eq per $billion GDP in 2014. The amount of GHGs emitted per person in Canada decreased to 20.6 tonnes CO2 eq in 2014, compared with 22.1 tonnes CO2 eq 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).

Indexed trend in greenhouse gas emissions per person and per unit of gross domestic product, Canada, 1990 to 2014

graph

Long description

The indexed line chart portrays a downward trend in Canada's 1990 to 2014 greenhouse gas emissions per person and per unit of gross domestic product as a percent of 1990. Emissions per person are expressed in tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent per person. Emissions per unit of gross domestic product are expressed in megatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent per $billion gross domestic product.

Data for this chart
Indexed trend in greenhouse gas emissions per person and per unit of GDP, Canada, 1990 to 2014
YearGHG per capita
(tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent per person)
Indexed GHG per capita
(percent of 1990 level)
GHG intensity
(megatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent per $billion GDP)
Indexed GHG intensity
(percent of 1990 level)
199022.1100.00.62100.0
199121.697.60.62100.8
199222.099.20.63102.8
199321.898.40.62100.6
199422.3100.60.6199.3
199522.7102.60.6199.6
199623.1104.50.62100.9
199723.4105.80.6198.8
199823.5106.10.5996.1
199923.7107.30.5792.9
200024.3109.60.5690.8
200123.6106.80.5488.2
200223.5106.10.5386.0
200323.9107.80.5386.6
200423.7107.00.5284.2
200523.2104.70.5080.6
200622.7102.40.4877.7
200723.1104.20.4878.1
200822.2100.40.4775.4
200920.793.60.4573.3
201020.893.90.4572.3
201120.793.40.4370.4
201220.793.40.4370.2
201320.894.00.4370.1
201420.693.10.4268.5

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How this indicator was calculated

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. Greenhouse gas 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 and Climate Change Canada (2016) National Inventory Report 1990–2014: Greenhouse Gas Sources and Sinks in Canada.

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