Government of Canada’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory

The Greening Government Strategy established climate and environmental commitments for the Government of Canada’s internal operations. The commitments include targets to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from federal facilities and fleets:

  • by 40% compared with 2005 levels by 2030, with an aspiration to achieve this target by 2025;
  • by 80% compared with 2005 levels by 2050, with an aspiration to be carbon neutral.

The target supports Canada’s climate goals, which are already established:

  • under the Paris Agreement on climate change;
  • in the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change;
  • in the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy.

In all the tables, the emissions data in kilotonnes of carbon equivalent are rounded to the nearest one decimal.

Visit the Open Government portal for more information about GHG emissions from federal facilities and fleets, or consult this infographic on the inventory of federal GHG emissions for fiscal year 2018 to 2019.

Progress

Progress toward the federal target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions

Figure 1: Federal greenhouse gas emissions by source for fiscal years 2005 to 2006 and 2018 to 2019
Federal greenhouse gas emissions by source for fiscal years 2005 to 2006 and 2018 to 2019. Text version below:
Figure 1 - Text version

The bar graph shows federal greenhouse gas emissions in kilotonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent as a total and by source for fiscal years 2005 to 2006 and 2018 to 2019.

Data for the bar graph

Federal greenhouse gas emissions by source for fiscal years 2005 to 2006 and 2018 to 2019
Sources of greenhouse gas Emissions in fiscal year
2005 to 2006
(kt CO2 eq)
Emissions in fiscal year
2018 to 2019
(kt CO2 eq)
Percentage change
compared with fiscal year
2005 to 2006
Stationary fuel combustion 762.9 703.2 -8%
Purchased electricity (including reductions from renewable energy certificates) 739.2 304.8 -59%
District energy 126.6 75.6 -40%
Administrative fleet 169.1 128.7 -24%
Total 1797.9 1212.2 -32.6%

Key results

  • 25 federal organizations reported greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions for fiscal year 2018 to 2019
  • The emissions for fiscal year 2018 to 2019 totalled 1,212 kilotonnes (kt) of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2 eq), which represents a decrease of 586 kt CO2 eq or 32.6% (excluding National Safety and Security emissions), compared with fiscal year 2005 to 2006
  • There were 2 major sources of GHG emissions:
    • stationary fuel combustion at federal facilities (58%)
    • purchased electricity used at federal facilities (25%)
  • Other less significant sources include:
    • on-road vehicles (6%)
    • district energy used at federal facilities (6%)
    • marine vessels (3%)
    • aircraft (1%)
    • other mobile equipment (0.5%)
  • In fiscal year 2018 to 2019, the top 6 emitting organizations (National Defence, Public Services and Procurement Canada, Correctional Service Canada, Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and Transport Canada) were responsible for 82% of the Government of Canada’s targeted GHG emissions
  • In fiscal year 2018 to 2019, the top 6 emitting regions of federal operations (Ontario, Nova Scotia, Alberta, Quebec, Saskatchewan, and New Brunswick) were responsible for 83% of the Government of Canada’s targeted GHG emissions
  • GHG emissions from federal facilities in fiscal year 2018 to 2019 totalled 1,084 kt CO2 eq, which is a reduction of 545 kt CO2 eq or 33% compared with fiscal year 2005 to 2006
  • Reductions in GHG emissions from federal facilities can be attributed to:
    • cleaner electricity, through:
      • a reduction in the GHG intensity of electricity purchased across Canada (309 kt CO2 eq)
      • contracting mechanisms, such as renewable energy certificates, which reduced an additional 106 kt CO2 eq
    • a reduction in GHG emissions from district heating (29 kt CO2 eq) and cooling (22 kt CO2 eq)
    • actions that led to reduced electricity use (19 kt CO2 eq) and stationary fuel combustion (60 kt CO2 eq), including rationalizing the portfolio and improving the energy efficiency of facilities through renovations and equipment retrofits
  • In fiscal year 2018 to 2019, the federal administrative fleet generated 129 kt CO2 eq, which was 24% lower than fleet emissions in fiscal year 2005 to 2006:
    • On-road vehicles were the source of most of the reduction in emissions with a 30% decrease (33 kt CO2 eq) compared with fiscal year 2005 to 2006
    • The reduction was made possible through a combination of actions, including vehicle right-sizing and the purchase of more efficient vehicles
    • An additional reduction of 7.5 kt CO2 eq compared with fiscal year 2005 to 2006 was achieved by marine vessels, aircraft and other mobile equipment
More information

Certain sources of GHG emissions are excluded from the federal emissions reduction target because of their important role in ensuring the national safety and security of all Canadians. Federal organizations that exclude national safety and security emissions from the reduction target are still required to:

  • track and report emissions related to national safety and security
  • explore alternative energy options to potentially reduce emissions through new technologies, operational efficiencies and other innovative processes

Moving forward, the Government of Canada will gather and share information from additional sources of GHG emissions. Doing so will allow for more open, transparent and complete reporting of federal GHG emissions.

Facilities

Greenhouse gas emissions from federal facilities

The federal government has one of the largest and most diverse portfolios of facilities in the country, including:

  • the symbolic buildings on Parliament Hill
  • aircraft hangars on military bases
  • laboratories
  • correctional institutions
  • office buildings and warehouses
Figure 2: Greenhouse gas emissions from federal facilities by source for fiscal years 2005 to 2006 and 2018 to 2019
Greenhouse gas emissions from federal facilities by source for fiscal years 2005 to 2006 and 2018 to 2019. Text version below:
Figure 2 - Text version

The bar graph shows the greenhouse gas emissions generated by federal facilities in kilotonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent as a total and by source for fiscal years 2005 to 2006 and 2018 to 2019.

Data for the bar graph

Greenhouse gas emissions from federal facilities by source for fiscal years 2005 to 2006 and 2018 to 2019
Source of GHG emissions Emissions for fiscal year
2005 to 2006
(kt CO2 eq)
Emissions in for fiscal year
2018 to 2019
(kt CO2 eq)
Percentage change
compared with fiscal year
2005 to 2006
Stationary fuel combustion
Natural gas 573.5 576.1 1%
Light fuel oil 57.7 45.9 -20%
Heavy fuel oil 71.0 13.1 -82%
Jet fuel 26.8 21.0 -22%
Diesel 23.1 34.5 49%
Propane 10.7 11.8 11%
Purchased electricity
Market-based 739.2 304.8 -59%
Location-based 739.2 411.0 -44%
District energy
Heating 102.9 74.0 -28%
Cooling 23.7 1.6 -93%
Facilities total (market) 1,628.7 1,083.6 -33%
Facilities total (location) 1,628.7 1,189.8 -27%

Key results

  • 20 federal organizations reported greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions generated by federal facilities in fiscal year 2018 to 2019
  • The emissions for fiscal year 2018 to 2019 totalled 1,084 kilotonnes (kt) of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2 eq) for facilities, which represents a decrease of 545 kt CO2 eq or 33% compared with fiscal year 2005 to 2006
  • Stationary fuel combustion, primarily used to generate heat at facilities, was the source of a significant amount (65%) of GHG emissions in fiscal year 2018 to 2019, but has decreased by 8% compared with fiscal year 2005 to 2006
  • Purchased electricity generated a significant amount (28%) of GHG emissions in fiscal year 2018 to 2019, but emissions from electricity use have decreased by 59% compared with fiscal year 2005 to 2006.
  • Reductions in GHG emissions from federal facilities compared with fiscal year 2005 to 2006 can largely be attributed to:
    • a reduction in the GHG intensity of electricity purchased across Canada, which accounted for a reduction of 309 kt CO2 eq
    • contracting mechanisms, such as renewable energy certificates, which accounted for an additional reduction of 106 kt CO2 eq
  • The reduction in GHG emissions from district heating (29 kt CO2 eq) and cooling (22 kt CO2 eq) was significant, but it had a small impact on emission levels since district heating and cooling represents a smaller share of overall energy use
  • The remaining 79 kt reduction in emissions can be attributed to reductions in:
    • stationary fuel combustion (60 kt CO2 eq)
    • purchased electricity (19 kt CO2 eq)
  • Overall, the reduction was achieved through a combination of actions, including:
    • the rationalization of the government’s portfolio of buildings
    • renovations for energy efficiency
    • equipment retrofits for energy efficiency
More information

Stationary fuel combustion generates heating, cooling and electricity at federal facilities. Sources of stationary fuel combustion within facilities often include:

  • boilers and furnaces to produce heat
  • absorption chillers or gas-driven compression units used for cooling
  • generators, turbines or co-generation equipment that produce electricity
  • other equipment used in facilities, such as lab equipment and kitchen appliances

These GHG emissions are considered to be “direct” because they are generated at the facility.

Purchased electricity refers to the purchase of conventional, grid-tied electricity. GHG emissions from purchased electricity are considered to be “indirect” because the electricity is generated off-site.

Federal organizations use 2 accounting methods to calculate GHG emissions from purchased electricity:

  1. The location-based method considers the average GHG intensity of the electricity grids that provide electricity, regardless of any contractual arrangements that an organization has for clean electricity. To quantify indirect emissions using the location-based method, reporting organizations use emission factors that are based on the geographic location of each facility and that correspond to the grid-average emission factor of power-generating facilities that supply power to the grid.
  2. The market-based method reflects GHG emissions from sources of electricity that reporting organizations have chosen. For example, an organization may establish a contractual arrangement to procure clean electricity from specific sources through the use of clean power purchase agreements or renewable energy certificates. For all remaining electricity use at a facility that is not covered by a contractual arrangement, the appropriate grid-average emission factor based on the location of the facility will apply. Progress toward the federal GHG reduction target will be measured using the market-based methodology.

District energy represents the energy used for heating or cooling that is generated off-site. GHG emissions from district energy are also considered to be indirect because the emissions occur at the facility where heating or cooling is generated.

Visit the Open Government portal for more information on GHG emissions generated by federal facilities.

Fleets

Greenhouse gas emissions generated by federal fleets

Operating a fleet results in the combustion of fossil fuels and the emission of greenhouse gases (GHGs). The Government of Canada has a large and diverse fleet that includes:

  • on-road vehicles and equipment, such as:
    • cars
    • vans
    • trucks
    • other vehicles
  • off-road vehicles and equipment, such as:
    • marine vessels (boats and ships)
    • aircraft
    • other mobile equipment (for example all-terrain vehicles, lawn mowers and generators)

Federal organizations that exclude national safety and security activities from the target to reduce GHG emissions are still required to:

  • track and report GHG emissions from these activities
  • take steps to reduce emissions
Figure 3: Greenhouse gas emissions from the federal administrative fleet by source for fiscal years 2005 to 2006 and 2018 to 2019
Greenhouse gas emissions from the federal administrative fleet by source for fiscal years 2005 to 2006 and 2018 to 2019. Text version below:
Figure 3 - Text version

The bar graph shows the greenhouse gas emissions generated by the federal administrative fleet in kilotonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent as a total and by source for fiscal years 2005 to 2006 and 2018 to 2019.

Data for the bar graph

Greenhouse gas emissions from the federal administrative fleet by source for fiscal years 2005 to 2006 and 2018 to 2019
Source of greenhouse gas Emissions for fiscal year
2005 to 2006
(kt CO2 eq)
Emissions for fiscal year
2018 to 2019
(kt CO2 eq)
Percentage change
compared with fiscal year
2005 to 2006
On-road vehicles 108.8 75.8 -30%
Marine vessels 36.2 36.2 0%
Aircraft 14.7 11.0 -25%
Other mobile equipment 9.4 5.6 -40%
Total 169.1 128.6 -24%

Key results

  • The federal administrative fleet generated approximately 11% of targeted federal GHG emissions in fiscal year 2018 to 2019
  • Over half of the fleet’s GHG emissions (59%) were generated by on-road vehicles, while the balance was generated by marine vessels (28%), aircraft (9%) and other mobile equipment (4%) owned by federal organizations
  • In fiscal year 2018 to 2019, GHG emissions from the federal fleet were down by 24% compared with fiscal year 2005 to 2006:
    • On-road vehicles were the source of most of the fleet’s emission reductions and their emissions decreased by 33 kilotonnes (kt) of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2 eq) or 30% compared with fiscal year 2005 to 2006
    • GHG emissions from federal marine vessels were unchanged compared with fiscal year 2005 to 2006
    • GHG emissions from federal aircraft have decreased by 25% compared with fiscal year 2005 to 2006
    • GHG emissions from other mobile equipment have decreased by 40% compared with fiscal year 2005 to 2006
More information

Visit the Open Government portal for more information about GHG emissions from federal fleets.

By organization

Trends in greenhouse gas emissions by federal organization

Figure 4: Greenhouse gas emissions by federal organization in fiscal year 2018 to 2019 and the percentage change in emissions compared with fiscal year 2005 to 2006
Greenhouse gas emissions by federal organization in fiscal year 2018 to 2019 and the percentage change in emissions compared with fiscal year 2005 to 2006. Text version below:
Figure 4 - Text version

The bar graph shows the total greenhouse gas emissions (in kilotonnes of carbon equivalent) reported in fiscal year 2018 to 2019, by federal organization. The greenhouse gas emissions are separated by facilities or fleet. The percentage change compared with fiscal year 2005 to 2006 is also shown for each federal organization.

Data for the bar graph

Greenhouse gas emissions by federal organization in fiscal year 2018 to 2019 and the percentage change in emissions compared with fiscal year 2005 to 2006
Federal organization Emissions from facilities for fiscal year
2018 to 2019
(kt CO2 eq)
Emissions from fleets for fiscal year
2018 to 2019
(kt CO2 eq)
Total emissions for fiscal year
2018 to 2019
(kt CO2 eq)
Percentage change
compared with fiscal year
2005 to 2006
National Defence 503.6 30.8 534.4 -32%
Public Services and Procurement Canada 127.3 0.8 128.2 -54%
Correctional Service Canada 122.1 2.2 124.3 -12%
Royal Canadian Mounted Police 86.7 2.7 89.4 -21%
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada 59.3 4.1 63.4 -37%
Transport Canada 4.9 48.5 53.4 -13%
National Research Council Canada 42.6 1.4 44.0 -40%
Parks Canada 23.6 14.8 38.4 -5%
Fisheries and Oceans Canada 22.3 7.1 29.4 -34%
Canadian Food Inspection Agency 18.5 3.9 22.4 -32%
Natural Resources Canada 20.8 0.8 21.6 -38%
Environment and Climate Change Canada 11.9 3.0 14.9 -31%
Canada Border Services Agency 9.5 4.0 13.5 4%
Health Canada 11.9 0.7 12.6 -44%
Public Health Agency of Canada 8.3 0 8.3 16%
Canadian Security Intelligence Service 3.6 0 3.6 -48%
Library and Archives Canada 2.5 0 2.5 -15%
Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada 2.3 0.1 2.4 11%
Indigenous Services Canada 0 1.9 1.9 0%
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada 0.6 1.0 1.6 -49%
Canadian Space Agency 1.3 0 1.3 -43%
Employment and Social Development Canada 0 0.3 0.3 -78%
Canada Revenue Agency 0 0.2 0.2 -46%
Shared Services Canada 0 0.2 0.2 0%
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada 0 0.1 0.1 -35%
Total 1,062.2 128.7 1,212.8 -32.6%

Key results

  • In fiscal year 2018 to 2019, the top 6 emitting organizations (National Defence, Public Services and Procurement Canada, Correctional Service Canada, Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and Transport Canada) generated 82% of the Government of Canada’s targeted GHG emissions
By region

Greenhouse gas emissions from federal facilities by region

Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from federal operations can primarily be attributed to facilities that are located in regions where federal operations use a lot of energy or where electricity grids rely on fossil fuels.

Figure 5: Greenhouse gas emissions from federal facilities in fiscal year 2018 to 2019 by region
Greenhouse gas emissions from federal facilities in fiscal year 2018 to 2019 by region. Text version below:
Figure 5 - Text version

The figure is a map of Canada that shows the regional distribution of greenhouse gas emissions from federal facilities in fiscal year 2018 to 2019.

Data for the figure

Greenhouse gas emissions from federal facilities in fiscal year 2018 to 2019 by region
Region Emissions from
stationary combustion
(kt CO2 eq)
Emissions from
electricity
(kt CO2 eq)
Emissions from
district energy
(kt CO2 eq)
Total from all
sources
(kt CO2 eq)
Percentage share
of total GHG
emissions
Ontario 213.4 15.6 62.2 290.8 27%
Nova Scotia 57.3 117.4 0.9 175.6 16%
Alberta 110.1 62.6 0.0 172.8 16%
Quebec 107.9 1.0 1.7 110.5 10%
Saskatchewan 18.2 54.9 6.1 79.2 7%
New Brunswick 31.0 32.6 0.7 64.3 6%
British Columbia 53.4 2.4 1.4 57.2 5%
Manitoba 43.1 0.4 1.4 44.9 4%
Newfoundland and Labrador 28.5 4.3 0.0 32.8 3%
Northwest Territories 20.5 1.6 0.0 22.2 2%
Nunavut 13.5 5.5 0.0 19.0 2%
Prince Edward Island 4.1 5.9 1.1 11.1 1%
Yukon 2.6 0.5 0.0 3.1 0.3%
Total 703.2 304.7 75.6 1,083.6 100%

Key results

  • In fiscal year 2018 to 2019, operations in the top 6 regions (Ontario, Nova Scotia, Alberta, Quebec, Saskatchewan, and New Brunswick) generated 82% of the Government of Canada’s targeted GHG emissions
  • A significant amount of GHG emissions generated by purchased electricity comes from electricity use in regions that have high-carbon electricity grids, including Nova Scotia (39%), Alberta (21%), Saskatchewan (18%) and New Brunswick (11%)
  • Breakdown of GHG emissions from natural gas used in federal facilities:
    • 36% in Ontario
    • 19% in Alberta
    • 18% in Quebec
    • 8% in British Columbia
  • 42% of GHG emissions from light fuel oil came from operations in Nova Scotia, and an additional 40% of GHG emissions from light fuel oil were generated in the other Atlantic provinces and Quebec
  • 77% of GHG emissions from district energy came from plants located in the National Capital Region
Security

Greenhouse gas emissions from national safety and security operations

Greenhouse (GHG) emissions generated by certain activities are included in the federal GHG inventory, but they are excluded from the federal GHG reduction target. Consistent with practices in other jurisdictions, national safety and security activities such as law enforcement by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, search and rescue by the Canadian Coast Guard, and the operation of military vehicles and equipment by the Department of National Defence are excluded from the GHG reduction target.

Federal organizations that exclude national safety and security activities from the target to reduce GHG emissions are still required to:

  • track and report GHG emissions from these activities
  • explore alternative energy options to reduce emissions through new technologies, operational efficiencies and other innovative processes
Figure 6: Greenhouse gas emissions from the national safety and security fleet for fiscal years 2005 to 2006 and 2018 to 2019 by fleet type
Greenhouse gas emissions from the national safety and security fleet for fiscal years 2005 to 2006 and 2018 to 2019 by fleet type . Text version below:
Figure 6 - Text version

The bar graph shows the greenhouse gas emissions generated by the national safety and security fleet in kilotonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent as a total and by fleet type for fiscal years 2005 to 2006 and 2018 to 2019.

Data for the bar graph

Greenhouse gas emissions from the national safety and security fleet for fiscal years 2005 to 2006 and 2018 to 2019 by fleet type
Source of greenhouse gas
emissions
Emissions for fiscal
year 2005 to 2006
(kt CO2 eq)
Emissions for fiscal
year 2018 to 2019
(kt CO2 eq)
Percentage change
compared with fiscal
year 2005 to 2006
Aircraft 477.8 598.4 25%
Marine 303.6 300.7 -1%
Land vehicles 65.3 87.3 34%
Total 846.8 986.4 16%

Key results

  • In fiscal year 2018 to 2019, the federal national safety and security fleet emitted 986 kilotonnes (kt) of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2 eq)
  • In fiscal year 2018 to 2019, the Department of National Defence national safety and security fleet emitted 734 kt CO2 eq:
    • 80% of the emissions came from aircraft
    • 19% came from marine vessels
    • 1% came from other land vehicles
  • In fiscal year 2018 to 2019, the Canadian Coast Guard national safety and security fleet emitted 161 kt CO2 eq:
    • 96% of the emissions came from marine vessels
    • 4% came from aircraft
  • In fiscal year 2018 to 2019, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police national safety and security fleet emitted 92 kt CO2 eq:
    • 88% of the emissions came from on-road vehicles
    • 9% came from aircraft
    • 3% came from marine vessels
More information

The Government of Canada is taking action to reduce GHG emissions from operations related to national safety and security by:

  • launching the Sky’s the Limit Challenge, a nationwide challenge to develop the cleanest, most affordable and most sustainable aviation fuel for the aviation sector
  • requiring that federal organizations:
    • develop a strategic approach
    • continue to take actions to decarbonize their fleets by purchasing more efficient vehicles and optimizing their use
Air Travel

Greenhouse gas emissions from public service employee work-related air travel

Through the Greening Government Strategy, the Government of Canada made a commitment to track greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from air travel by public service employees starting in fiscal year 2018-19. These emissions are included in the federal GHG inventory, but they are excluded from the federal GHG reduction target. Although these emissions are driven by federal activities, the Government of Canada does not have control over the operations of air carriers.

We are also promoting lower-carbon alternatives to work-related air travel, including the use of teleconference technology or substituting air travel with other forms of travel such as rail, where feasible.

As a way to further incent departments to adopt lower-carbon alternatives to work-related travel the Greening Government Fund was established through Treasury Board Secretariat in 2018. Federal departments and agencies that generate GHG emissions in excess of 1 kilotonne per year from air travel contribute $25 per tonne annually to the Greening Government Fund. Only organizations that contribute to the fund are eligible to access it. The fund supports projects that allow departments to explore innovative approaches to reducing GHG emissions.

Figure 7: Greenhouse gas emissions for employee work-related air travel by federal organization in fiscal year 2018 to 2019
Greenhouse gas emissions for employee business air travel by federal organization in fiscal year 2018 to 2019 . Text version below:
Figure 7 - Text version

The bar graph shows the total greenhouse gas emissions (in kilotonnes of carbon equivalent) for employee work-related air travel reported in fiscal year 2018 to 2019, by the top 10 emitting federal organizations. The remainder are grouped as "other".

Data for the bar graph

Greenhouse gas emissions for employee work-related air travel by federal organization in fiscal year 2018 to 2019
Federal Organization Emissions for work-related air travel
for fiscal year 2018 to 2019
(kt CO2 eq)
National Defense 107.6
Global Affairs Canada 21.2
Royal Canadian Mounted Police 18.2
Canada Border Services Agency 13.6
Fisheries and Oceans Canada 11.2
Environment and Climate Change Canada 8.3
Transport Canada 7.6
Health Canada 5.7
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada 5.7
Canada Revenue Agency 5.6
National Research Council Canada 4.9
Natural Resources Canada 4.4
Employment and Social Development Canada 3.9
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada 3.7
Public Services and Procurement Canada 3.2
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada 2.9
Parks Canada 2.9
Canadian Food Inspection Agency 2.6
Indigenous Services Canada 2.6
Correctional Service Canada 2.4
Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada 2.3
Public Health Agency of Canada 2.2
Veterans Affairs Canada 2.2
Justice Canada 1.7
Finance Canada 1.4
Canadian Space Agency 1.2
Public Safety Canada 0.9
Canadian Heritage 0.9
Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat 0.6
Library and Archives Canada 0.3
Total 251.7

Key results

  • In fiscal year 2018 to 2019, the top 10 emitting organizations (National Defence, Global Affairs Canada, Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Canada Border Services Agency, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Transport Canada, Health Canada, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada and Canada Revenue Agency) generated 81% of GHG emissions attributable to employee work-related air travel
Methodology

Methodology used to account for greenhouse gas emissions

The methodology selected for quantifying greenhouse (GHG) emissions from federal operations is meant to:

  • reasonably minimize uncertainty
  • yield accurate and consistent results
  • be technically feasible and cost-effective

Federal organizations follow the Federal Greenhouse Gas Accounting and Reporting Guidance, which provides direction on calculating and reporting GHG emissions in accordance with the Greening Government Strategy. The methodology is based on the Greenhouse Gas Protocol: A Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard, developed by the World Resources Institute and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development. The Greenhouse Gas Protocol is an internationally accepted standard for GHG accounting at the organizational level.

Over time, additional sources of GHG may be added and adjustments to methodologies may be made in order to improve the federal government’s accounting for and reporting of GHG emissions from federal operations.

Emission factors

  • GHG emissions are determined using activity data (for example, energy data) in conjunction with an appropriate emission factor
  • Emission factors are calculated ratios that relate GHG emissions to a measure of activity at a specific emissions source
  • Emission factors are usually expressed in terms of GHG emissions per unit of fuel or energy
  • Emission factors used to calculated GHG emissions from federal operations are sourced from the national inventory report: greenhouse gas sources and sinks in Canada, published by Environment and Climate Change Canada

Global warming potentials

  • GHGs are converted into units of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2 eq) by multiplying the emissions of each gas by its global warming potential
  • Global warming potential is a factor that describes the degree of warming that results from one unit of a given GHG relative to one unit of CO2
  • The global warming potential of methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O) are 28 and 265 respectively, based on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Fifth Assessment Report, 2014

Additional notes

  • Some year-to-year changes in GHG emissions may be due to data collection gaps, methodology or error correction refinements, while others may be the result of one-time or specific events or actions (such as natural disasters or operational disruptions)
  • Variations in seasonal weather conditions (for example, the effect of heating or cooling days on building energy use) also influence annual GHG emissions
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