Greenhouse Gas Emissions

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Canada's total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissionsFootnote [1] in 2014 were 732 megatonnes (Mt) of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2 eq), or 20% (120 Mt CO2 eq) above the 1990 emissions of 613 Mt CO2 eq. Steady increases in annual emissions characterized the first 10 years of this period, followed by fluctuating emission levels between 2000 and 2008, a steep decline in 2009, and a gradual increase thereafter.

Canada's emissions growth between 1990 and 2014 was driven primarily by increased emissions from mining and upstream oil and gas production as well as transport. Emission reductions from 2005 to 2014 were driven primarily by reduced emissions from the public electricity and heat production category.

Greenhouse gas emissions, Canada, 1990 to 2014

Line chart

Long description

The line chart shows Canada's national greenhouse gas emissions in megatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent from 1990 to 2014.

Data for this chart
Greenhouse gas emissions, Canada, 1990 to 2014
YearTotal greenhouse gas emissions
(megatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent)
1990613
1991606
1992623
1993625
1994646
1995665
1996685
1997700
1998708
1999722
2000744
2001733
2002736
2003755
2004756
2005747
2006738
2007758
2008739
2009696
2010706
2011710
2012718
2013731
2014732

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How this indicator was calculated

Note: The national indicator tracks seven GHGs, carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), sulphur hexafluoride (SF6), perfluorocarbons (PFCs), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) and nitrogen trifluoride (NF3), released by human activity (reported in Mt CO2 eq). 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.

Greenhouse gases trap heat in the Earth's atmosphere, just as the glass of a greenhouse keeps warm air inside. Human activity increases the amount of GHGs in the atmosphere, contributing to a warming of the Earth's surface. This is called the enhanced greenhouse effect.

Over the past 200 years in particular, humans have released GHGs into the atmosphere primarily from burning fossil fuels. As a result, more heat is being trapped and the temperature of the planet is increasing. Sea levels are rising as Arctic ice melts, and there are changes to the climate, such as more severe storms and heat waves. All of this impacts the environment, the economy and human health.

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This indicators are used to measure progress toward Goal 1: Climate Change – In order to mitigate the effects of climate change, reduce greenhouse gas emission levels and adapt to unavoidable impacts of the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy 2013–2016.

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