Carbon emissions increased in all regions of the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area

Toronto, Nov. 15, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The Atmospheric Fund (TAF) today published the latest sources and amounts of carbon emissions in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA). This year’s regional inventory includes 2021 data and analyzes longer term emissions trends and progress against targets.  

Carbon emissions in the GTHA increased by 2.2 million tonnes, or 4.5% in 2021, climbing swiftly towards pre-pandemic levels. The overall flatlining trend reflects little progress since 2015. This stands in contrast to the average year-over-year 8% decrease needed to hit our 2030 targets; without immediate action, the rate only grows steeper if the region continues along the current trajectory.   

Data show the overall increase was driven by rising emissions in almost every sector: natural gas used for space heating in buildings; gasoline and diesel from more kilometers traveled by car; and increased use of natural gas for electricity generation, underscoring the need for strong climate action across the board. While emissions increased across the region, there were large differences in the pace, ranging from a massive 15% increase in Halton to a modest 1.3% increase in Toronto. For the first time, upstream emissions from natural gas, including from fracking and pipelines, are included in the inventory.   

The report also highlights some of the effective carbon emission reduction policies and programs in place across the GTHA.  

“With the new term of council starting today, GTHA municipalities and regions must accelerate policies, investments and engagements that support affordable, low-carbon communities,” says Julia Langer, CEO of The Atmospheric Fund. “We need to break through the inertia and barriers that are paralyzing and undermining the region’s climate emergency response and tap into the many solutions available.”   


  • This one-of-a-kind inventory uses consistent methodology, data sources, and time frames across all six GTHA cities and regional municipalities from 2015-2021 to create a comprehensive picture of the sources and amounts of greenhouse gas emissions.  
  • Emissions (2021) come from: buildings (44%), transportation (31%), industry (20%), waste (4%), and agriculture (1%).   
  • Emissions from electricity rose by a staggering 28% in 2021 due to the increasing use of natural gas-powered generating plants, which increase the carbon intensity of the Ontario electricity grid overall.  
  • Transportation emissions increased by 2.3% in 2021 after a sharp pandemic-related decrease in 2020 and are expected to continue to rebound in 2022.  
  • The report features local data for each of the six GTHA cities and regions and recommendations for policymakers at all levels of government.   

Read the report:


Carbon Emissions Inventory for the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area 2021 reports on the major sources of emissions across the region starting in 2015: buildings, transportation, industry, waste, and agriculture. The inventory generally follows the guidelines established in the Global Protocol for Community-Scale Greenhouse Gas Emissions, covering Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions. Inventory data in the region is available after a one-year delay, up to the previous year.  

About The Atmospheric Fund 

The Atmospheric Fund (TAF) is a regional climate agency that invests in low-carbon solutions for the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area and helps scale them up for broad implementation. We are experienced leaders and collaborate with stakeholders in the private, public and non-profit sectors who have ideas and opportunities for reducing carbon emissions. Supported by endowment funds, we advance the most promising concepts by investing, providing grants, influencing policies and running programs. We’re particularly interested in ideas that offer benefits in addition to carbon reduction such as improving people’s health, creating local jobs, boosting urban resiliency, and contributing to a fair society. TAF is a member of the Low Carbon Cities Canada Network. |   


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