Carbon monoxide emissions

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Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colourless, odourless, tasteless and poisonous gas. Once inhaled into the bloodstream, it can inhibit the blood’s capacity to carry oxygen to organs and tissues, affecting human health.

Key results

  • In 2015, CO emissions in Canada were 5595 kilotonnes (kt), a decrease of 54% from 1990 levels.
  • Transportation (road, rail air and marine) was the largest source of CO emissions in Canada. In 2015, the sector represented 30% (1659 kt) of total emissions.

Total carbon monoxide emissions by source, Canada, 1990 to 2015

Stacked column chart showing carbon monoxide emissions by source. Long description below.
Long description

The stacked column chart shows total carbon monoxide emissions in Canada by source (transportation [road, rail, air and marine], off-road vehicles and mobile equipment, home firewood burning, other sources, and oil and gas industry) for the years 1990 to 2015. The emissions are reported in kilotonnes.

Data for this chart
Total carbon monoxide emissions by source, Canada, 1990 to 2015
Year Transportation (road, rail, air and marine) (emissions in kilotonnes) Off-road vehicles and mobile equipment (emissions in kilotonnes) Home firewood burning (emissions in kilotonnes) Other sources (emissions in kilotonnes) Oil and gas industry (emissions in kilotonnes) Total national emissions (emissions in kilotonnes)
1990 5821.0 2042.6 1660.4 2305.4 334.6 12 164.0
1991 5098.6 2404.6 1636.4 2402.1 323.0 11 864.7
1992 5176.8 2463.3 1564.8 2228.6 337.6 11 771.2
1993 5131.5 2480.4 1637.9 2419.7 361.3 12 030.9
1994 4876.5 2455.5 1668.5 2366.4 397.9 11 764.7
1995 4494.1 2530.2 1593.1 2404.3 406.7 11 428.6
1996 4457.9 2572.9 1573.8 2147.6 419.3 11 171.4
1997 4659.5 2436.3 1502.7 1880.3 469.4 10 948.2
1998 4858.5 2332.8 1597.0 1792.3 486.8 11 067.4
1999 5017.2 2103.7 1521.8 1719.7 499.1 10 861.7
2000 5062.4 2003.6 1472.7 1641.3 443.9 10 623.9
2001 4705.7 1740.5 1364.1 1530.9 470.8 9812.1
2002 4428.6 1820.5 1482.7 1451.4 502.7 9686.0
2003 4185.5 1848.5 1278.9 1531.8 544.3 9389.0
2004 3863.6 1964.0 1247.9 1231.0 510.2 8816.7
2005 3141.7 1851.2 1180.0 1197.5 499.1 7869.6
2006 2842.3 1874.6 1144.8 1011.3 512.8 7385.8
2007 2638.9 1824.5 1146.8 953.7 527.0 7090.9
2008 2496.7 1753.4 1161.2 963.3 544.4 6919.0
2009 2294.7 1680.0 1121.1 916.9 532.9 6545.6
2010 2161.3 1650.5 1193.9 896.3 528.7 6430.9
2011 1933.0 1487.1 1204.2 887.2 536.5 6048.1
2012 1842.9 1349.3 1213.9 916.7 526.5 5849.3
2013 1803.7 1314.3 1206.3 852.1 553.1 5729.5
2014 1705.9 1359.8 1198.2 905.4 539.6 5708.8
2015 1659.3 1323.0 1190.3 883.0 539.3 5594.9

Download data file (Excel/CSV; 2.40 KB)

How this indicator was calculated

Note: The indicator reports air pollutant emissions from human activities only. The category "other sources" includes emissions from dust and fires, electric utilities, building heating and energy generation, incineration and waste, agriculture (livestock, crop production and fertilizer), paints and solvents, ore and mineral industries, manufacturing and other miscellaneous sources. Consult Table 1 in the Data sources and methods for a complete list of the air pollutant emissions sources included under each category.
Source: Environment and Climate Change Canada (2017) Air Pollutant Emission Inventory.

More information

In 2015, Transportation, off-road vehicles and mobile equipment, and home firewood burning were the three most important sources of CO. The sources combined represented 75% (4173 kt) of national emissions. Off-road vehicles and mobile equipment represented 24% (1323 kt) and home firewood burning represented 21% (1190 kt).

The largest reduction in emissions between 1990 and 2015 occurred in transportation (road, rail, air and marine) with an emission decrease of 4162 kt (71%). 

The decline in CO emissions between 1990 and 2015 is mainly due to the progressive introduction of cleaner and more efficient technology in vehicles (for example, catalytic converters).

Carbon monoxide emissions by province and territory

Key results

  • In 2015, Ontario and Quebec accounted for more than 50% (2915 kt) of national CO emissions.
  • Between 1990 and 2015, all provinces and territories experienced significant reductions in emissions. The reductions ranged from 36% in Newfoundland and Labrador to 88% in the Yukon.

Carbon monoxide emissions by province and territory, Canada, 1990 and 2015

Stacked column chart showing carbon monoxide emissions by province and territory. Long description below.
Long description

The column chart shows 1990 and 2015 carbon monoxide emissions in Canada by province and territory. The emissions are reported in kilotonnes.

Data for this chart
Carbon monoxide emissions by province and territory, Canada, 1990 and 2015
Province or territory 1990 (emissions in kilotonnes) 2015 (emissions in kilotonnes)
Newfoundland and Labrador 294.5 187.7
Prince Edward Island 76.6 30.9
Nova Scotia 316.9 142.2
New Brunswick 293.0 125.6
Quebec 2543.3 1519.8
Ontario 3416.8 1395.5
Manitoba 458.5 195.5
Saskatchewan 564.9 311.2
Alberta 1820.4 1036.5
British Columbia 2340.8 637.7
Yukon 19.6 2.3
Northwest Territories and Nunavut 18.8 9.8

Download data file (Excel/CSV; 827 B)

How this indicator was calculated

Note: The indicator reports air pollutant emissions from human activities only.
Source: Environment and Climate Change Canada (2017) Air Pollutant Emission Inventory.

More information

In 2015, Quebec emitted the most CO of all the provinces and territories, representing 27% (1520 kt) of the total national emissions. Home firewood burning was the most important source of CO emissions for Quebec.

The province of Ontario ranked second, with 24% (1396 kt) of total national emissions in 2015, with 34% of those emissions from off-road vehicles and mobile equipment.

Alberta, the third largest CO emitter, accounted for 19% (1037 kt) of national emissions. The oil and gas industry accounted for 41% of the province's CO emissions.

The sharp decrease in emissions between 1990 and 2015 in all provinces is mainly attributable to emission reductions from transportation (road, rail, air and marine).

Carbon monoxide emissions from facilities

Environment and Climate Change Canada's National Pollutant Release Inventory provides detailed information on air pollutant emissions from industrial and commercial facilities. The Canadian Environmental Sustainability Indicators (CESI) program provides access to this information through an online interactive map.

With the CESI interactive map, you can zoom in to local areas and obtain details on CO emissions specific to reporting facilities.

Source: Environment and Climate Change Canada (2016) National Pollutant Release Inventory Data search - facility reported data.

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