Sector Emissions at a Glance
Buildings and transportation are the largest emitting sectors in the GTHA
Buildings (which use natural gas for space and water heating and electricity) and transportation (which uses gasoline and diesel) continue to dominate emissions. While waste and agriculture are a small share of overall emissions, there is still an opportunity for reductions. Overall emissions have increased by 2.2 million tonnes since 2020. Industry saw the biggest increase in emissions (+1.0 MtCO2e), followed by buildings (+0.8 MtCO2e) and transportation (+0.4 MtCO2e).
Emission Profiles by Sector
Scope 3 Emissions
Emissions inventories don't show the full impact of our consumption
Inventories typically do not account for upstream transmission or distribution emissions, or emissions related to growing, producing, and manufacturing goods outside the inventory boundary. In fact, according to C40, nearly 85% of total emissions associated with consumed goods and services are generated outside cities. As a result, emission inventories do not show the full impact of our consumption. TAF continues to assess Scope 3 emissions, where reliable data sources exist, through our policy work and grant-making. Updates in this inventory include reporting electricity transmission and distribution losses as well as upstream fugitive methane emissions related to natural gas consumption.
Fugitive Methane: Inventories do not account for the “fugitive” methane that leaks from extraction, fracking, pipelines, and distribution — the full life cycle of natural gas. TAF’sreport on fugitive methane demonstrates that natural gas combustion emissions are 29% higher than currently reported. Ignoring this important source of upstream emissions can undermine climate action priorities, particularly where natural gas is marketed as a “clean” fuel source. In this inventory, we have used a natural gas emission factor of 2.45 kgCO2eq/m3 with a global warming potential (GWP) time frame of 100 years to estimate the upstream fugitive emissions of natural gas.
Embodied Emissions in Construction: The embodied carbon in construction materials typically account for 70-80% of life emissions from buildings. There is an urgency to quantify, address and mitigate embodied emissions sources in the building sector. WorldGBC has issued a commitment that by 2030 all new buildings, infrastructure projects, and renovations will have at least 40% less embodied carbon.
A TAF-funded study benchmarked the emissions of materials in residential construction and showed that the average annual embodied emissions of all new low-rise homes built each year in the GTHA is 0.84 MtCO2e. Another TAF-funded study showed that high-rise building materials account for 465 kgCO2e/m2, totaling 1.6 MtCO2eq annually in the GTHA. Together, these numbers show that embodied emissions in new buildings are at least 2.5 MtCO2eq annually. These estimates are not included in this inventory but will be considered in future editions once we have access to granular region-level data.