Canada grew its carbon footprint in 2022 largely due to rising emissions from the oil and gas sector, as well as from buildings, according to a new estimate from the Canadian Climate Institute.

The independent estimate was published on Thursday by 440 Megatonnes, a project of the Canadian Climate Institute. It found that in 2022, total emissions in Canada increased by 2.1 per cent, or 14.2 megatonnes from a year earlier.

The research found that 72 per cent of the increase came from oil and gas production and from buildings, continuing a “longer-term trend” of rising emissions from both sectors.

Rick Smith, president of the Canadian Climate Institute, noted that the trends come as Canada’s climate policies and shift to clean tech appear to be successfully cutting emissions.

“That progress is being swamped by the continued rise in emissions from oil and gas and buildings,” he said in a press release on the findings.


The climate charity noted that emissions from buildings were higher due to “increased heating demand from a colder winter.”

That sector, along with oil and gas, have seen “substantial increases” in carbon emissions since 2005, the organization said, where as emissions from electricity have dropped 56 per cent in the same time period.

Despite the estimated rise in 2022, Canada’s emissions were 6.3 per cent below 2005 levels, the report said. The federal government has set a target to bring emissions 40 to 45 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030.


The estimate found that in 2022, emissions in Canada rose by a combined total of 37.1 megatonnes.

That increase, however, was offset by climate policy and market drivers, including clean energy deployment, which the estimate found to have reduced emissions by 22.9 megatonnes, resulting in a net increase of 14.2.

The institute is calling for rapid policy action at the federal and provincial level to ensure Canada’s ultimate climate target – net-zero emissions by 2050 – is reached.

“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,” Smith said.

The institute’s principal economist, Dave Sawyer, added that policy should be focused on the oil and gas and buildings sectors, since they are responsible for the majority of the emissions increase.

“Some sectors are a bigger cause for concern than others,” he said in a written statement.

“When emissions from just two sectors 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.”