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Emissions in Canada - statistics & facts

Compared to countries such as China, the United States, and India, Canada’s emissions pale in comparison. However, Canada is still one of the biggest emitters of greenhouse gases worldwide, and the tenth-largest emitter in history.

Between 1990 and 2019, Canada’s CO2 emissions increased by 16 percent to 582 million metric tons (MtCO2). In 2020, emissions plummeted by eight percent to 536 MtCO2 as a result of the outbreak of COVID-19 and the resultant temporary shutdowns of heavily polluting industry sectors. Despite these significant reductions, Canada still accounted for 1.5 percent of global CO2 emissions that year, making it the 11th largest CO2 emitter.

Where do Canada's emissions come from?

Burning fossil fuels for energy is the largest source of Canada’s GHG emissions. Canada’s rising emissions have mainly been driven by transportation and the oil and gas industry. The oil and gas sector was Canada’s most polluting economic sector in 2019, accounting for 26 percent of total nationwide emissions. Canada is a leading oil-producing country with vast deposits found in its oil sands.
One of the largest operations in Canada’s oil sands industry is the Syncrude Project in Northern Alberta’s Athabasca oil sands. In 2019, Syncrude was the biggest single-site emitter in Canada, having released more than 12 million metric tons of CO2 equivalent into the atmosphere. Syncrude is a joint venture operated by one of the country’s largest polluters – Suncore. Ontario was once the highest emitting province in Canada, but it has now been surpassed by Alberta due to the increased oil and gas operations there.

Canadians have a high carbon footprint

Canadians are among the world’s largest per capita emitters, producing more than 14 metric tons of CO2 per person in 2020. This was roughly three times the global average, far exceeding other top emitters, such as the United Kingdom and Germany. Per capita emissions in Canada were even higher before the pandemic, averaging 16 metric tons of CO2 each year. Per capita greenhouse gas emissions are even higher, averaging 20.6 metric tons of CO2 equivalent most recently in 2018. Although Canadians currently have one of the highest individual carbon footprints worldwide, per capita emissions there have fallen notably since the turn of the century.

Interesting statistics

In the following 5 chapters, you will quickly find the 25 most important statistics relating to "Emissions in Canada".


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