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 31% lower in 2013 than 1990. Over that period, GHG per unit of GDP decreased from 0.62 megatonnes (Mt) of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2 eq) per $billion GDPFootnote  in 1990 to 0.43 Mt CO2 eq per $billion GDP in 2013. The amount of GHGs emitted per person in Canada decreased to 20.7 tonnes of CO2 eq in 2013, compared with 22.1 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 (GHG per capita) and per unit of GDP (GHG intensity of the economy), Canada, 1990 to 2013
The line graph portrays a downward trend in Canada's 1990 to 2013 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
|Year||GHG per capita|
(tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent per person)
|Indexed GHG per capita|
(tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent per person expressed as a percent of 1990)
|GHG intensity of the economy|
(megatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent per $billion GDP)
|Indexed GHG intensity of the economy|
(megatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent per $billion GDP expressed as a percent of 1990)
Download data file (Excel/CSV; 1.24 KB)
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 (2015) National Inventory Report 1990–2013: 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 Greenhouse Gas Emissions
- Drivers and Impacts of Greenhouse Gas Emissions
- Environment Canada - Climate Change
- Canada’s Action on Climate Change
- Footnote 1
GHG intensity per unit of GDP is calculated using the real inflation-adjusted GDP in 2007 dollars.
- Date Modified: