Greenhouse Gas Emissions
What are greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions?
Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are the gases that are released into the atmosphere as a result of certain activities. GHGs are accumulating in the atmosphere like a blanket, trapping heat and raising global temperatures.
GHG emissions come from activities like driving, heating buildings, powering industry, farming and managing waste.
How much GHG emissions is PEI producing?
PEI's GHG emissions were 1,756 kilotonnes CO2e (1.756 Mt CO2e) in 2019. PEI's emissions increased by 28,000 tonnes from last year (a 1.6% increase). Emissions grew at a slower pace than our population and economy.
Environment and Climate Change Canada generates PEI's GHG information. They are always working to improve the completeness, consistency, and accuracy of this information. As a result, these numbers are subject to change. For more information on Canada's greenhouse gas inventory, visit the Government of Canada's webpage. Canada's Official Greenhouse Gas Inventory contains the datasets for PEI.
PEI’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions Infographic (2019) provides an overview of PEI’s GHG emissions.
What are our sources of greenhouse gas emissions?
According to the most recent National Inventory Report released by Environment and Climate Change Canada, our GHG emissions come from three main economic sectors:
- Transportation is the biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions in Prince Edward Island.
- 63% of our transportation emissions come from passenger cars and trucks.
- The remaining transportation emissions come mostly from freight transportation (like heavy trucks, marine transport, and aviation).
- Livestock, manure and fertilizer use generate GHG emissions. Livestock produce methane gas and so does their manure. Nitrous oxides are given off when we use synthetic or natural fertilizers, and add manure to croplands and pastures.
- 90% of PEI’s agricultural emissions come from growing crops and animals. Fuel use on farms only accounts for 10% of agricultural emissions.
- Island homes, businesses, and industries burn fossil fuels like light fuel oil (furnace oil), heavy fuel oil (bunker C), diesel, and propane to produce heat or electricity.
- Heavy fuel oil generates the most GHGs (3 kg for every litre of oil burned), while propane generates the least (1.5 kg for every litre of propane burned).
- PEI’s emissions from buildings have been decreasing over the years as more people are improving building efficiency and switching to electric heating systems.
PEI's remaining emissions come from the waste (6%) and manufacturing (7%) sectors.
Does PEI have a GHG emissions reduction target?
In 2018, the Legislative Assembly of Prince Edward Island adopted a new, more ambitious GHG reduction target of 1.2 Mt CO2e by 2030, which is a 40% reduction below 2005 levels. This target is established in the Climate Leadership Act.
Right now, Prince Edward Island’s GHG emissions are 14% below 2005 levels, or 34% of the way towards the newly adopted target. Current efforts are expected to continue to lower emissions but it will not be enough.
Meeting this target will not be easy, but it is possible if we all work together. A Special Legislative Committee was created to find ways to meet this new target.
In late 2020, PEI announced its commitment to be net zero by 2040. Net Zero has more information about the path towards reaching PEI's net zero goal.
In PEI, we all have a role to play in reducing emissions. 50% of PEI’s emissions come from households - from the fuel that is used to heat homes and drive vehicles.
What is PEI doing to lower GHG emissions?
The Government of PEI has identified a number of actions in A Climate Change Action Plan for Prince Edward Island that will reduce emissions. These actions include:
- making buildings more efficient (visit efficiencyPEI for information about programs)
- switching how we heat our homes (visit efficiencyPEI for information about programs)
- planning more efficient communities
- developing a sustainable transportation system (visit Sustainable Transportation for more information)
- supporting the transition to electric vehicles (learn more about electric vehicles)
- implementing carbon pricing (visit Carbon Levy for more information)
- reducing the Government of PEI's GHG emissions
- reforesting areas (learn more about the Carbon Capture Tree Planting Program)
- expanding opportunities within current programs, like the Alternative Land Use Services Program and the Forest Enhancement Program, for carbon sequestration (carbon sequestration is when trees and natural environments absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere), and
- working with farmers to develop practices for reducing emissions and storing carbon.
What can I do to lower my GHG emissions?
Visit the Take Charge - Action for Climate Change website. There are a number of ways you can help make a difference.
What does a tonne of CO2 look like?
Visit One Tonne of CO2 to see what kind of activities produce one tonne of CO2.
Who can I contact for more information?