Greenhouse gas emissions
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Canada's total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in 2015 were 722 megatonnes (Mt) of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2 eq), or 18% (111 Mt CO2 eq) above the 1990 emissions of 611 Mt CO2 eq. Annual emissions steadily increased during the first 10 years of this period, fluctuated between 2000 and 2008, dropped in 2009, and gradually increased thereafter.
Canada's emissions growth between 1990 and 2015 was driven primarily by increased emissions from mining and upstream oil and gas production as well as transport. Emission reductions from 2005 to 2015 were driven primarily by reduced emissions from public electricity and heat production utilities.
Greenhouse gas emissions, Canada, 1990 to 2015
The line chart shows Canada's national greenhouse gas emissions in megatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent from 1990 to 2015.
Data for this chart
|Year||Total greenhouse gas emissions (megatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent)|
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Note: The national indicator tracks seven greenhouse gases released by human activity: carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, sulphur hexafluoride, perfluorocarbons, hydrofluorocarbons and nitrogen trifluoride. Emission levels for some years have been revised in light of improvements to estimation methods and availability of new data.
Source: Environment and Climate Change Canada (2017) National Inventory Report 1990-2015: 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.
- Greenhouse Gas Emissions per Person and per Unit Gross Domestic Product
- Greenhouse Gas Emissions by Canadian Economic Sector
- Greenhouse Gas Emissions by Province and Territory
- Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Large Facilities
- Global Greenhouse Gas Emissions
- Progress Towards Canada's Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Target
- Carbon Dioxide Emissions from a Consumption Perspective
Effective action on climate change
This indicator supports the measurement of progress towards the long-term goal of the 2016-2019 Federal Sustainable Development Strategy: A low-carbon economy contributes to limiting global average temperature rise to well below two degrees Celsius and supports efforts to limit the increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
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