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Greenhouse gas emissions

  • In 2003, Canada's total greenhouse gas emissions reached an estimated 740 megatonnes (carbon dioxide equivalent), up 24% from 1990.
  • Canada's 2003 emissions were 32% above the target to be achieved in the period 2008 to 2012 according to the Kyoto Protocol.
  • Emissions per person rose 9% from 1990 to 2003; emissions per unit of gross domestic product fell 13%.
  • The energy sector (including road transportation, fossil fuel industries and thermal electricity and heat production) accounted for 81% of total Canadian emissions in 2003 and 91% of the growth in emissions from 1990 to 2003.
  • Alberta and Ontario had the highest emissions of all provinces in 2003. Saskatchewan, New Brunswick and Alberta had the highest percentage increases in emissions compared with 1990.


Naturally occurring greenhouse gases (GHGs) help to regulate the planet's climate by trapping solar energy that is radiated back from the Earth. Emissions from human activities over the past 200 years have amplified this natural process, and scientists predict that this trend will continue (Environment Canada 2005a). More >>

Status and trends

National status and trends

Canada's GHG emissions were an estimated 740 megatonnes (carbon dioxide equivalent) in 2003, up 24% from 596 megatonnes in 1990. The trend in estimated emissions and the target to which Canada has committed under the Kyoto Protocol—6% below the 1990 baseline by the period 2008 to 2012—are shown in Figure 3. The Kyoto Protocol specifies penalties for countries that do not meet their emissions reduction commitments (Environment Canada 2005a). More >>

What's next?

Several steps to improve the GHG emissions inventory will directly improve the quality of the indicator reported through this initiative. Environment Canada's Greenhouse Gas Division is continuously planning and implementing improvements. More >>

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Date modified: 2005-12-14 Important Notices
Online catalogue Main page Executive summary Introduction Findings Conclusion Figures and maps Methods and data quality References More information PDF version Related products Online catalogue: Canadian Environmental Sustainability Indicators: Socio-economic Information