Statistics Canada
Symbol of the Government of Canada

Tracking greenhouse gas emissions

Warning View the most recent version.

Archived Content

Information identified as archived is provided for reference, research or recordkeeping purposes. It is not subject to the Government of Canada Web Standards and has not been altered or updated since it was archived. Please contact us to request a format other than those available.

Changes in the concentration of greenhouse gases—carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and others—in our atmosphere have been linked to increases in the Earth’s temperature. In 2003, Canada released an estimated 740 million tonnes of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, a 24% increase from the 596 million tonnes emitted in 1990.

When it ratified the Kyoto Accord in February 2005, Canada made a commitment to reduce the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions to 6% below 1990 levels during the 2008 to 2012 period. But until recently, reporting of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by industry—the major source of these gases—was not mandatory.

Chart: Greenhouse gas emissions, CanadaIn an effort to improve environmental data collection, the federal government made industry reporting of GHG emissions mandatory and tasked Statistics Canada with the job of collecting the new data. Mandatory reporting is a step toward the government’s goal of incorporating key environmental indicators into its decision-making. It also aids in developing policies and strategies on the environment and energy use.

The success of collecting these data depends on compliance. Industries do not want to repeatedly submit data, and they want to submit data electronically. To keep things simple, Statistics Canada developed a ‘single window reporting system’for industries. Alberta, under the Climate Change and Emissions Management Act, agreed to harmonize its greenhouse gas reporting with Statistics Canada and Environment Canada. Quebec and Ontario have also shown interest in harmonizing their reporting of greenhouse gas emissions.