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Physical flow accounts: Energy use and greenhouse gas emissions, 2015

Released: 2017-09-12

Energy use and greenhouse gas emissions by industries and households

Total energy use by industries and households in Canada decreased 0.7% in 2015, following a 1.1% increase the previous year. Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, which had been increasing annually before levelling off in 2014, decreased 0.5% in 2015.

These changes took place as economic growth, as measured by gross domestic product (GDP), increased by 2.6% in 2014 and 0.9% in 2015. Canada's direct industrial energy intensity in 2015 was 5.37 terajoules per million dollars of GDP, down 1.2% from 2014, while its direct industrial GHG emissions intensity also decreased 1.2% from 2014 to 0.37 kilotonnes per million dollars of GDP.

The residential sector remained the largest energy user in 2015 at 24.0% of total energy consumption in Canada, down 0.3 percentage points from 2014. This amounted to 78.3 gigajoules of household energy use per person, equivalent to the energy content of approximately 13 barrels of crude oil. Meanwhile, households were responsible for 19.1% of GHG emissions, owing to a relatively large share of their energy use coming from electricity, which does not directly contribute to GHG emissions. In 2015, households emitted 4.0 tonnes of GHG emissions on a per capita basis.

After decreasing for four consecutive years, energy use in the utilities and construction industries rose by 2.0% in 2015. These industries accounted for 12.6% of total energy use in 2015, up from 12.2% in 2014.

GHG emissions continued to rise in the mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction sector, up 29.2% since 2009. This sector remained the largest source of GHG emissions in 2015, accounting for 23.3% of the national total. These industries are more prominent in terms of GHG emissions than in energy use because of fugitive emissions from oil and gas extraction. The agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting industries (accounting for 10.9% of national GHG emissions) are similarly pushed higher by the contribution of methane and nitrous oxide emissions from crop and animal production. In manufacturing and in other services and public administration, the share of GHG emissions was lower compared with the share of energy use because electricity represented a large proportion of energy use for these sectors.

Telling Canada's story in numbers; #ByTheNumbers

In celebration of the country's 150th birthday, Statistics Canada is presenting snapshots from our rich statistical history.

In October 1973, Canada was among the nations affected by an embargo on oil exports from several petroleum-producing countries. The embargo lasted until March 1974, contributing to a significant increase in the price of oil. This first oil crisis (followed by a second one in 1979) affected both the price and availability of fuel, and led to several other indirect economic impacts.

The 1978 Statistics Canada report Energy availability, detailed disposition, and industrial demand coefficients for Canada (Deachman and Hamilton) observed that "Continuing high energy prices, and the realization of our import dependence as a result of the 1973 disturbance, have led to widespread Canadian interest in energy, its supply possibilities, and the determinants of its demand." In response to the need for energy data and analysis, Statistics Canada developed an Energy Model in 1975-1976 and a subsequent Long Term Simulation Model with an energy component. This work expanded to reflect the growing environmental movement at the time, resulting in the first publication of Human Activity and the Environment in 1978 and the eventual development of the Canadian System of Environment and Resource Accounts in 1997.

Today, Statistics Canada continues to work with international statistical offices to develop and improve methods to link environmental and economic data, and to provide information useful to decision makers in their efforts to green the economy. A highlight of this work was the release in 2012 of an international statistical standard: the United Nations System of Environmental-Economic Accounting (SEEA). The physical flow accounts presented here are one aspect of the SEEA, with the energy use account, demand-based measures, and multipliers linking directly back to the initial efforts in this area that Statistics Canada launched in the 1970s.

For more information on the data and the concepts and methods related to this work, please see the Methodological Guide: Canadian System of Environmental-Economic Accounting (Catalogue number16-509-X).

  Note to readers

Statistics Canada's Physical Flow Accounts record the annual flows of selected natural resources, products and residuals between the Canadian economy and the environment. Data are presented to reflect the activities of industries, households and governments, and follow the classification system used in Statistics Canada's supply and use tables.

Preliminary data for 2015 from the Physical Flow Accounts are now available for energy use and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Estimates for 2009 to 2014 for energy use and GHG emissions were updated with revised source data. Revised and preliminary estimates were also affected by revisions to the methodology for compiling the energy use account, most significant of which was compiling the data at the provincial/territorial level prior to aggregating to the national estimates presented. The provincial and territorial energy use estimates are available as a custom tabulation upon request.

Energy use and GHG emissions intensities per industry for 2009 to 2013 were revised to reflect the updates to energy use and GHG emissions data.

A revised table for 2009 to 2013 on energy use and greenhouse gas emissions by final demand category is now available, again to reflect the updates to energy use and GHG emissions data.

Environment and Climate Change Canada is responsible for producing Canada's National Inventory Report on Greenhouse Gas Sources and Sinks. This inventory fulfills Canada's reporting obligations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and is the official benchmark for GHG emissions in Canada. The reporting requirements of the UNFCCC differ from the methodological guidelines of the United Nations System of Environmental–Economic Accounting used to create the greenhouse gas account described here. For more information on these differences, see the physical flow accounts survey page (5115).

Contact information

For more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300; or Media Relations (613-951-4636;

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