Connecticut’s Greenhouse Gas Inventory Report Shows Emissions Decline with Need for More Reductions

Hazy smoke surrounds a factory.

by | Apr 25, 2023

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Hazy smoke surrounds a factory.

The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) published its latest Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory this week. The report shows a significant decline in GHG emissions, but there is still a strong need for further reduction—and at a progressively faster rate.

The DEEP Greenhouse Gas Inventory Report tracks air pollution and its impact on climate change in the state. The state is currently making strides in reducing the amount of air pollution that contributes to climate change; however, there is still much work to be done in order to meet the goals set by the legislature. 

These goals, as set by the state legislature, create opportunities for Connecticut residents and businesses. Even more, the legislature is aiming to reduce energy costs for all Connecticut residents.

Connecticut’s GHG Inventory and the Fight for Climate Change

DEEP Commissioner Katie Dykes said the department estimates statewide emissions totaled 34.7 million metric tons (MMT) of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) in 2021. That’s a 22% decrease from the 1990 baseline, but a 6% increase from 2020. Obviously, the pandemic significantly reduced levels of carbon dioxide, but when vehicle usage returned to pre-pandemic levels, emissions also increased. 

“We are continuing our urgent work to do our part to mitigate the threat of climate change,” said DEEP Commissioner Katie Dykes. “While we’ve made strides and met our 2020 target, we have much work ahead of us and only seven years to achieve our 2030 goal. The transportation sector continues to be by far the largest source of our emissions, followed by residential sector emissions. With climate change already impacting residents’ health, as well as our environment and our economy, we need the feasible policy solutions proposed in this report, before it’s too late.”

The state legislature would like to see a 45% emissions reduction by 2030, levels that would match the emissions rate of 2001. 

Reducing Carbon Emissions

According to the report, the transportation, electricity, and residential heating and cooling sectors are responsible for almost 75% of Connecticut’s greenhouse gas emissions. Transportation has the highest emissions rates, which have not decreased much from 1990 levels.

According to Department of Transportation Director Robert Bell, fuel economy improvements have been canceled out by an increase in overall miles traveled. Bell explained that the department is looking at roundabouts and signal timing to reduce emissions.

“Sustainability and greenhouse gas emissions are a significant issue for us too,” Bell said. “And it’s a significant challenge for us as an agency and for the state and for the country as a whole in the transportation sector. The numbers you, commissioner, pointed out in the inventory are not moving in the direction at the pace that we need to meet our carbon and our climate goals.”

As the report indicated, policy solutions include updating the state’s Global Warming Solutions Act so that it better aligns with relevant climate change science. Likewise, legislation is being considered for home energy labeling and increasing urban tree cover. Connecticut Governor Lamont’s Executive Order 3 requires the state’s electrical grid to be carbon-free by 2040.

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