California Greenhouse Gas Emissions Report Updated

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The California Greenhouse Gas Emission Inventory Report has been updated. This document describes various CA greenhouse gas emissions and their sources. It also states that greenhouse gas emissions there have been on a downward trend since 2007. Dave Clegern, a Public Information Officer with the California Air Resources Board, answered some questions for CleanTechnica about it.

1. 41% of Greenhouse gas emissions came from transportation. What are the main sources within that segment?

Tailpipe emissions, refining and oil & gas extraction.

2. Do port emissions count within the transportation segment?


3. What is California doing to reduce transportation GHG emissions?

A lot. We have extensive efforts underway to get low emission and zero emission vehicles into both the light-duty and heavy-duty sectors. There are also successful funding initiatives to help get those markets rolling.

In addition, the Low Carbon Fuel Standard requires lower carbon intensities (lifecycle carbon) in fuels produced or brought in for sale in California. Also, cap-and-trade covers fuel suppliers (middlemen) and refineries’ product emissions.

4. 23% of CA greenhouse gas emissions comes from the Industrial sector. What are the main industrial sources?

Here is the Trends document for the 2016 GHG Emissions Inventory (latest verified data). It breaks out emissions by sector and specifies sources. From the report, “Emissions in this sector are driven by fuel combustion from sources that include refineries, oil & gas extraction, cement plants, and other stationary sources, as well as the portion of cogeneration emissions attributed to thermal energy output. Emissions from this sector show a slight decrease in emissions in the past two years.”

5. What is California doing to reduce them?

Cap-and-trade is the primary reduction tool for industrial sources of GHGs. It covers about 80% of the states anthropogenic emissions.

6. Is there any data or predictions about how much the use of EVs might reduce GHG emissions within the CA transportation segment?

I don’t see an EV specific number, though both light-duty and heavy-duty sectors rely heavily on EVs, but the combined GHG emissions reductions from the collective transportation programs should be about 30 percent below 1990 levels by 2030. That assumes five million light-duty ZEVs on the road in California by then.

7. What is California doing to reduce them?

Dairy methane is handled under the Short-Lived Climate Pollutant (SLCP) Strategy. Utilities are covered under cap-and-trade and the Renewables Portfolio Standard (RPS)

8. 6% of CA greenhouse gas emissions are from imported electricity. Is that because this electricity is being generated by burning coal and natural gas?

Correct. But many of the power plants in California now use natural gas, as well, while they transition to cleaner sources. There are no in-state coal-fired plants.

9. Is it possible that California will some day import no fossil-fuel based electricity?

It’s not only possible, it’s required. Governor Brown issued an Executive Order calling for carbon net neutrality by 2045 and the Legislature passed an accompanying bill.

Image Credit: Andre M, WikipediaCC BY-SA 3.0

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Jake Richardson

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