Greenhouse gas emissions by province and territory

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Emissions vary significantly by province, owing to factors such as population, energy sources and economic base. Everything else being equal, economies based on resource extraction will tend to have higher emission levels than service-based economies. Similarly, provinces that rely on fossil fuels for their electricity generation will have higher emissions than provinces relying more on renewable sources.

Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions for Ontario and Quebec were lower in 2015 than in 1990 by a total of about 24 megatonnes (Mt) of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2 eq) (9 Mt CO2 eq for Quebec and 15 Mt CO2 eq for Ontario). Emissions in Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Colombia were higher in 2015 than in 1990 by 30 Mt CO2 eq, 99 Mt CO2 eq and 9 Mt CO2 eq respectively. In 2015, the top five emitters (Alberta, Ontario, Quebec, Saskatchewan and British Columbia) together released 656 Mt CO2 eq or 91% of Canada's national total GHG emissions of 722 Mt CO2 eq.

In 1990, Ontario's GHG emissions were higher than those from the other provinces because of its large manufacturing industry. Alberta's emissions subsequently surpassed Ontario's, increasing 56% since 1990, primarily due to the increase in the oil and gas industry for export markets. Ontario's emissions decreased between 1990 and 2015 primarily because of the closure of coal-fired electricity generation plants. In 2015, the combined emissions from Alberta and Ontario represented 61% (38% and 23%, respectively) of the national total.

The provinces of Quebec and British Columbia, which rely on abundant hydroelectric resources for their electricity production, show more stable emission patterns across the time series and a decreasing pattern since 2005. Quebec had a 10% (9 Mt CO2 eq) decrease from its 2005 emissions level; while British Columbia had a decline of 5% (3 Mt CO2 eq). In contrast to these decreases, emissions in Saskatchewan increased by 8% (5 Mt CO2 eq) between 2005 and 2015, primarily due to increases in activity from sectors such as transportation, oil and gas, and mining.

Greenhouse gas emissions by province and territory, Canada, 1990, 2005 and 2015

Column chart shows the provincial and territorial breakdown - long description below
Long description

The column chart shows the provincial and territorial breakdown from east to west of greenhouse gas emissions in megatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent for the years 1990, 2005 and 2015.

Data for this chart
Greenhouse gas emissions by province and territory, Canada, 1990, 2005 and 2015
Province or territory 1990 greenhouse gas emissions (megatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent) 2005 greenhouse gas emissions (megatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent) 2015 greenhouse gas emissions (megatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent)
Newfoundland and Labrador (NL) 9.5 10.1 10.3
Prince Edward Island (PE) 1.9 2.1 1.8
Nova Scotia (NS) 19.8 23.2 16.2
New Brunswick (NB) 16.3 20.3 14.1
Quebec (QC) 89.0 88.9 80.1
Ontario (ON) 181.3 204.4 166.2
Manitoba (MB) 18.6 20.6 20.8
Saskatchewan (SK) 45.2 69.5 75.0
Alberta (AB) 175.3 232.8 274.1
British Columbia (BC) 51.9 63.9 60.9
Yukon (YT) 0.5 0.4 0.3
Northwest Territories (NT) 1.7Footnote A 1.6 1.4
Nunavut (NU) n/a 0.5 0.6

Download data file (Excel/CSV; 1.33 KB)

How this indicator was calculated

Note: 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.

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