Big and Little Feet Provincial Profiles: Alberta


  • Sarah Dobson University of Calgary
  • G. Kent Fellows University of Calgary



This communiqué provides a summary of the production- and consumption-based greenhouse gas emissions accounts for Alberta, as well as their associated trade flows. It is part of a series of communiqués profiling the Canadian provinces and territories.1 In simplest terms, a production-based emissions account measures the quantity of greenhouse gas emissions produced in Alberta. In contrast, a consumption-based emissions account measures the quantity of greenhouse gas emissions generated during the production process for final goods and services that are consumed in Alberta through household purchases, investment by firms and government spending. Trade flows refer to the movement of emissions that are produced in Alberta but which support consumption in a different province, territory or country (and vice versa). For example, emissions associated with the production of Alberta crude oil that is exported to British Columbia for refining and sale as motor gasoline are recorded as a trade flow from Alberta to British Columbia. Moving in the opposite direction, emissions associated with the production of Saskatchewan crops that are exported to Alberta for processing and sale in Alberta grocery stores are recorded as a trade flow from Saskatchewan to Alberta. For further details on these results in a national context, the methodology for generating them and their policy implications, please see the companion papers to this communiqué series: (1) Fellows and Dobson (2017); and (2) Dobson and Fellows (2017). Additionally, the consumption emissions and trade flow data for each of the provinces and territories are available at:


Dobson, Sarah and G. Kent Fellows. 2017. “Big and Little Feet: A Comparison of Provincial Level

Consumption- and Production-Based Footprints.” The School of Public Policy Publications: SPP

Research Paper, 10(23). September.

Fellows, G. Kent and Sarah Dobson. 2017. “Embodied Emissions in Inputs and Outputs: A ValueAdded

Approach to National Emissions Accounting.” Canadian Public Policy, 43(2): 140-164.

Industry Canada. 2017. “Trade Data Online (TDO).” Accessed September.


National Energy Board. 2016. Canada’s Energy Future 2016: Energy Supply and Demand Projections

to 2040. January.