National Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Canada's total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in 2013 were 726 megatonnes (Mt) of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2 eq),Footnote  or 18% (113 Mt) above the 1990 emissions of 613 Mt. Steady increases in annual emissions characterized the first 15 years of this period, followed by fluctuating emission levels between 2005 and 2008, a steep decline in 2009, and a slight increase thereafter.
Canada's emissions growth between 1990 and 2013 was driven primarily by increased emissions from the fossil fuel industries and transport. Emission reductions from 2005 to 2013 were driven primarily by reduced emissions from the public electricity and heat production category.
National greenhouse gas emissions, Canada, 1990 to 2013
The line graph shows Canada's national greenhouse gas emissions from 1990 to 2013 with the 2020 Copenhagen target.
Data for this chart
|Year||Total greenhouse gas emissions|
(megatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent)
Download data file (Excel/CSV; 528 B)
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 of CO2 eq). Canada signed the Copenhagen Accord in December 2009, thereby committing to reducing its GHG emissions to 17% below 2005 levels by 2020. 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.
GHGs 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.
- Greenhouse Gas Emissions per Person and per Unit Gross Domestic Product
- 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
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.
- Footnote 1
Greenhouse gas emissions from the National Inventory Report (NIR) were estimated with the help of the new United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) reporting guidelines. These new guidelines include the adoption of revised methodologies in accordance with Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) guidelines, and the use of revised global warming potentials (GWPs).
- Date Modified: