Minister Guilbeault marks climate progress with the release of Canada’s 2023 National Inventory Report


April 14, 2023 – Gatineau, Quebec

Following the submission of Canada’s 2023 National Inventory Report of greenhouse gas emissions to the United Nations, the Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, issued the following statement:

“Canada’s latest greenhouse gas emissions data gives an encouraging picture of progress. Canada’s economy, in the face of a strong post-pandemic rebound, continues to show signs of becoming more efficient and less polluting as our journey to net-zero emissions continues. Canada’s emissions are going down—both from 2019 levels and 2005 levels. And the slight emissions rebound after the pandemic is smaller than originally expected.  

“Environment and Climate Change Canada predicted there would be an increase in emissions in 2021 due to 2020’s sudden COVID-19 economic slowdown that caused emissions to drop sharply. But emissions have stayed significantly below pre-pandemic levels. In fact, Canada’s 2021 emissions profile was 53 megatonnes smaller than it was in 2019, before the pandemic, and 62 megatonnes below 2005 levels. This means we are almost a quarter of the way to our 2030 emissions reduction goal.

“The smaller than expected increase in emissions shows that Canada’s economic growth continues to be cleaner and less polluting than before. Economists call this a “decoupling” of emissions from the country’s gross domestic product, or GDP, with emissions intensity from the entire economy down by 42 percent since 1990.

“Progress is happening, and Canada has been focused and relentless in taking climate action. A series of major environmental policy plans—most recently the 2030 Emissions Reduction Plan—have started to correct the upward trajectory of Canada’s emissions and make progress toward the goal of cleaner air and a healthier environment.

“The numbers speak for themselves:

  • The country’s electricity grid is now about 85 percent non-emitting. The growth of renewable energy and Canada’s progress on phasing out coal-fired electricity has seen emissions from the electricity sector decrease by 64 megatonnes between 2005 and 2021. This progress puts Canada in an excellent position to achieve its commitment of a net-zero electricity grid by 2035.
  • The latest data shows a 16 percent decrease in residential emissions with less home heating oil being used, as many Canadians take steps to improve their home’s energy efficiency, making the switch to heat pumps, solar, and other cleaner options.
  • Overall oil and gas sector emissions increased in 2021, representing 28 percent of Canada’s emissions. Methane emissions were down by 21 percent (or 15 megatonnes) since 2005. This is a noteworthy achievement, even though oil and natural gas production increased.
  • Canada’s increasingly tough tailpipe pollution regulations, and complementary measures like the Incentives for Zero-Emission Vehicles (iZEV) continue to cut emissions and increase the electrification of new vehicles coming to market. In 2021, the average new light-duty vehicle had 25–35 percent lower greenhouse gas emissions than new 2011 vehicles, and last year’s sales data confirmed zero-emission vehicles make up almost 10 percent of all new car sales.

“Our progress on climate change and lowering emissions is still ramping up as some of our national greenhouse gas regulations, investments, and policies come fully into effect later this decade. Today’s data aligns with the trajectories set out in the 2030 Emissions Reduction Plan.  

“Since 2015, the Government of Canada has committed over $120 billion and introduced more than 100 measures to support climate action. Further measures in Budget 2023, representing the single biggest package of climate commitments in Canada’s history, will take total federal investments north of $200 billion. Our 2030 target is ambitious and requires a whole-of-society approach. As we move forward on tackling climate change, I will continue to work with provinces and territories, municipalities, the financial community, Indigenous peoples, civil society, innovators, and businesses to rise to the challenge and drive collective action to achieve Canada’s 2030 and 2050 targets.” 

Quick facts

  • In 2021, Canada’s emissions were 670 megatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (Mt CO2 eq). This represents an increase of 12 megatonnes (1.8 percent) from 2020 emissions of 659 megatonnes, but was 53 megatonnes less than 2019’s pre-pandemic levels.
  • The largest contributors to the 2021 emissions increase were the transportation and oil and gas sectors as there was more travelling, and production increased following the COVID-19 shutdown.
  • The 2021 trends align with the trajectories set out in the 2030 Emissions Reduction Plan, which forecast emissions to rebound as the pandemic subsided before declining rapidly toward the targeted 40 to 45 percent cut in emissions from 2005 levels by 2030.  



Kaitlin Power
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change

Media Relations
Environment and Climate Change Canada
819-938-3338 or 1-844-836-7799 (toll-free)

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