Emissions from oil and gas, buildings undercut Canada’s climate progress, estimate finds

New independent estimate shows Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions rose 2 per cent in 2022 from previous year

28 September 2023, OTTAWA— Emissions from oil and gas and buildings continued to rise in 2022, undercutting Canada’s progress reducing emissions overall, according to a new independent estimate from 440 Megatonnes, a project of the Canadian Climate Institute

The Early Estimate of National Emissions for 2022 shows that Canada’s total emissions increased 2.1 per cent from the previous year, an increase of 14.2 megatonnes of carbon dioxide-equivalent (Mt CO2e). Despite the slight increase observed in 2022, overall emissions were 6.3 per cent below 2005 levels. Canada’s official emissions target for 2030 is 40–45 per cent below 2005 levels.  

Emissions from oil and gas production and buildings accounted for nearly three quarters (72 per cent) of the total increase in 2022 and continued a longer-term trend of steadily rising emissions from both sectors. The rise in emissions from buildings was largely due to increased heating demand from a colder winter. Both sectors have seen substantial increases in carbon emissions since 2005, in contrast with sectors like electricity where emissions have decreased 56 per cent since that time. 

Overall, strong economic growth and an increase in energy intensity pushed emissions up in 2022 by a combined total of 37.1 Mt CO2e from the previous year. Offsetting this increase was the impact of climate policy and market drivers, including clean energy technology deployment, which reduced emissions by 22.9 Mt, resulting in an overall net increase of 14.2 Mt. 

The overall increases underscore the need for policy action and coordination at both a federal and provincial level. These include rapidly finalizing and implementing the forthcoming emissions cap for oil and gas, methane regulations, the Clean Electricity Regulations and Green Building Strategy, among others. Previous Institute analysis completed in 2022 concluded that quick and effective implementation of the federal government’s 2030 Emissions Reduction Plan, along with further provincial and territorial action, put Canada’s targets within reach. An updated analysis will be released later this year. 

By providing this Early Estimate of National Emissions eight months ahead of Canada’s official National Inventory Report, the Institute aims to support more timely and evidence-based decision making about Canada’s climate progress.  

The 2021 emissions estimate from 440 Megatonnes was in line with official data later released by the federal government as part of its national inventory. 


“Our Early Estimate of Canada’s 2022 emissions shows that climate policy and clean technology are cutting emissions —but that progress is being swamped by the continued rise in emissions from oil and gas and buildings. Acting quickly to cap emissions from oil and gas, reducing methane leaks and expanding clean electricity will accelerate our progress, while building a more prosperous and competitive future for Canada.” 

Rick Smith, President, Canadian Climate Institute

“This Early Estimate was conceived to improve decision-making by tracking Canada’s climate progress as close to real-time as possible. The 2022 Estimate shows some sectors are a bigger cause for concern than others. When emissions from just two sectors, oil and gas and buildings, account for nearly three-quarters of the total increase in emissions last year, policy action for those sectors should be a top priority for all governments in Canada.” 

Dave Sawyer, Principal Economist, Canadian Climate Institute


Catharine Tunnacliffe
Communications Director
Canadian Climate Institute
(226) 212-9883