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 1,627 kilotonnes CO2e (1.627 Mt CO2e) in 2021. PEI's emissions increased by 44,500 tonnes from last year (a 2.8% increase).

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 webpageCanada's Official Greenhouse Gas Inventory contains the datasets for PEI. 

PEI’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions Infographic (2020) 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 (41%)

  • Transportation is the biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions in Prince Edward Island.  
  • • 72% 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). 

Agriculture (24%)

  • 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.
  • • 81% of PEI’s agricultural emissions come from growing crops and animals. Fuel use on farms only accounts for 19% of agricultural emissions.  

Buildings (18%)

  • 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 manufacturing (11%) and waste (6%) 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 13% below 2005 levels, or 36% of the way towards the 2030 target.  PEI is on track to meet this 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.  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.

What is PEI doing to lower GHG emissions?

PEI’s 2040 Net Zero Framework outlines Government’s plan to meet Net Zero Energy by 2023 and Net Zero for all sources by 2040. PEI has a vision to become the first Net Zero province in Canada.

In addition, the Government of PEI released a Climate Adaptation Plan in the Fall of 2023 which outlines a series of action items intended to help prepare for and lessen the impacts of climate change on Island residents.

Review the Minister’s Annual Report on Climate Change Risks and Progress Toward Targets for more information on the Government of PEI’s Climate Action efforts.

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?

Angela Banks (Manager, Net Zero Office)
Jones Building, 4th Floor
11 Kent Street
Charlottetown, PEI  C1A 7N8
Telephone: (902) 218-2594
Fax: (902) 368-5830

Published date: 
June 15, 2023
Environment, Energy and Climate Action

General Inquiries

Department of Environment, Energy and Climate Action
4th Floor, Jones Building
11 Kent Street
PO Box 2000
Charlottetown, PE C1A 7N8

Phone: 902-368-5044
Toll-free: 1-866-368-5044
Fax: 902-368-5830
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