Overhead view of the downtown campus, overlaid with a teal-navy gradient and an icon that reads "Carbon Neutrality"

Carbon Neutrality

Carbon Neutrality

McGill aims to achieve carbon neutrality by 2040, meaning net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, by:

  1. Reducing GHG emissions wherever feasible, such as through largescale energy transformations, 
  2. Sequestering carbon via carbon sinks, through its forested lands, and  
  3. Purchasing carbon offsets to compensate for unavoidable or difficult-to-reduce emissions, such as those from air travel and commuting.  

The University’s target of achieving carbon neutrality by 2040 is aligned with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) decarbonization timeline. Due to the urgency of climate change, strong commitments and actions need to be implemented and prioritized in order to significantly reduce our carbon footprint.

Learn more about the University’s path to carbon neutrality in the Energy Management Plan 

Learn more about greenhouse gas inventories, or carbon footprint assessments, with the Office of Sustainability’s Greenhouse Gas Inventories 101 

Progress towards Carbon Neutrality

42,381net tonnes of CO₂ equivalent are currently emitted by McGill

A pie char overview of McGill's 2020 greenhouse gas emissions: Energy (69%), Misc. (11%), Air Travel (6%), Commuting (7%), Purchased Energy (8%)

McGill 2020 Greenhouse Gas Emissions Sources

Miscellaneous includes emissions from: livestock & fertilizers, refrigerants & insulating gas, vehicle fleet, and other sources. Scope 1 refers to direct emissions. 


Get involved in Becoming Carbon Neutral


Frequently Asked Questions

What is a greenhouse gas inventory?

A greenhouse gas (GHG) inventory, also known as a carbon footprint assessment, is a quantified list of an organization’s greenhouse gas emissions and emission sources. It is a strategic tool for understanding, managing, and communicating emissions resulting from an organization’s activities. Learn more about greenhouse gas inventories, or carbon footprint assessments, with the Office of Sustainability’s Greenhouse Gas Inventory 101. 

What does McGill include in its carbon neutrality target?

McGill includes Scope 1, Scope 2, and select Scope 3 emissions in its carbon neutrality target. Scope 1 includes direct emissions from energy consumption in buildings owned or controlled by McGill, the McGill vehicle fleet, the Macdonald Farm, and leaked refrigerants and insulating gases. Scope 2 includes indirect emissions from purchased grid electricity and purchased steam and hot and chilled water.  

Scope 3 includes other indirect emissions upstream and downstream of McGill’s activities, including emissions from University-financed air travel and student and staff commuting, energy consumption of select buildings over which we do not have operational control, sports team travel, the intercampus shuttle, water supply and treatment, and power transmission and distribution losses. By including select Scope 3 emissions in its long-term target, McGill is taking an ambitious approach to carbon neutrality that demonstrates leadership and accountability.

Who does McGill report its emissions to?

In addition to the McGill Board of Governors, McGill reports its emissions to: Environment and Climate Change Canada's Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program and National Pollutant Inventory Program; the Inventaire québécois des émissions atmosphériques; the City of Montreal's Inventaire des sources fixes d’émissions atmosphériques; the Ministère de l’Enseignement supérieur du Québec's Relevé énergétique du réseau universitaire; and the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education’s Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System.

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