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Climate & greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions

Focus area
2030 targets
Climate & GHG emissions
  • Reduce emissions intensity by 30%(1)
  • Hold absolute emissions flat(1)
Ambition: In addition to our 2030 climate & GHG targets above,
Cenovus’s long-term ambition is to reach net zero emissions by 2050.

(1) Includes scope 1 and 2 emissions from operated facilities. Uses a 2019 baseline. For more details, see the Definitions section of our ESG targets news release.

At Cenovus, we recognize the growing concerns of people around the world about climate change and we share the goal of reducing GHG emissions.

Governments are supporting the transition to a lower-carbon future by introducing increasingly stringent climate-related policies and creating incentives for emissions-reduction solutions. We believe companies that fail to adapt to this transition will face growing carbon-related risks, while those that act now will position themselves for long-term business resilience. That’s why Cenovus is focused on demonstrating equally strong financial, operational, and environmental, social & governance (ESG) performance.

Cenovus is already one of the lowest emissions oil sands producers in Canada. Building on this, our new GHG emissions targets are among the most ambitious in the world for an upstream exploration and production company.

30% GHG intensity reduction

We plan to reduce our per-barrel GHG emissions by 30% by the end of 2030, using a 2019 baseline, and hold our absolute emissions flat by the end of 2030. In setting our GHG targets, we worked comprehensively with global experts to stress test both the targets and our strategic options for achieving them. And we analyzed scenarios from third parties to assess the resiliency of our business as we further reduce our emissions intensity.

Our GHG emissions strategy includes a number of options to reach our targets. These opportunities are at various stages of development, and include: additional operational optimization, incorporating cogeneration capacity into future oil sands phases, more extensive deployment of solvent technology, further advancement of the methane emissions reduction initiatives already underway at our Deep Basin operations and additional operational efficiencies, including the use of data analytics. Cenovus is also considering other direct and indirect initiatives that generate credible, additional and permanent carbon offsets.

Net zero emissions by 2050

Cenovus's long-term ambition is to reach net zero emissions by 2050. This is intended to address upstream (scope 1 and scope 2) emissions and will require ongoing focus on technology solutions beyond those that are commercial and economic today. We continue to identify opportunities to participate in longer-term solutions to address emissions from our operations and beyond. This includes extensive collaboration efforts with our peers, academics, other industries and entrepreneurs from around the world.

Air quality

We monitor ambient air quality at our operations to ensure that sulphur dioxide (SO2), hydrogen sulphide (H2S) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) concentrations remain within acceptable levels. To reduce air pollutants such as SO2 and NOx, as well as GHG emissions such as methane, we invest in technologies that help lower energy consumption in our day-to-day operations and processes.

We’ve already made significant progress in reducing methane emissions at Cenovus and we’re continuing to work on projects at our operations to further reduce emissions. Studies have shown that methane is a much more potent GHG than CO2, which means that reducing methane emissions is a critical part of any plan to address climate change.


Cenovus discloses its climate change impact through CDP, a global non-profit that runs the world’s leading environmental disclosure platform. CDP drives companies and governments to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, safeguard water resources and protect forests. Over 9,600 companies with over 50% of global market capitalization disclosed environmental data through CDP in 2020.

Quick facts

  • Between 2004 and 2019, Cenovus reduced the CO2 emissions intensity of its oil sands operations by about 30%
  • NOx emissions at our Christina Lake oil sands facility are about 50% below the regulatory threshold of 400 tonnes per year

Find out more about climate & GHG emissions in our environmental, social & governance report.