Greenhouse Gas Emissions Report shows Maine on pace to meet goals

July 28, 2022

The Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) today released its Ninth Biennial Report on Progress Toward Greenhouse Gas Reduction Goals, which provides a comprehensive analysis of Maine's greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) by fuel source and economic sector. The report found that as of 2019, gross GHG emissions in Maine were 25 percent lower than 1990 levels. This surpasses the State's medium-term goal of reducing gross GHG emissions to 10 percent less than 1990 levels by January 1, 2020.

The report shows statewide gross GHG emissions increased from the initially measured levels in 1990, reaching a peak in 2002. By 2009, gross GHG emissions fell below 1990 levels, reaching a low in 2012 before rising again slightly from 2013 to 2015 and trending downward again through 2019.

With continued progress in reducing gross GHG emissions, the report indicates Maine is well-positioned to meet its goal of carbon neutrality by 2045, which was recently added to state law. Maine also has statutory goals to reduce gross GHG emissions by 45 percent from 1990 levels by 2030 and 80 percent by 2050, which were signed into law by Governor Janet Mills in 2019 with bipartisan support of the Legislature.

"Maine is making welcome progress in reducing harmful carbon emissions and in curbing our reliance on expensive fossil fuels," said Governor Mills. With Maines climate plan, we will continue to partner with communities, businesses, and people across Maine to further reduce emissions, protect and preserve our environment, and strengthen our economy for future generations.

This Ninth Biennial Report is the first to quantify the carbon sequestration benefits of Maines forests, fields and wetlands. It is essential for the creation and evaluation of emission reduction programs to take into account this more comprehensive view of carbon released and captured within Maines borders, said DEP Commissioner Melanie Loyzim.

The report also found that:

  • 91 percent of gross GHG emissions in Maine result from energy consumption, and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from combustion of fossil fuels account for 60 percent of Maines 2019 gross GHG emissions. Annual emissions in the energy source category have been reduced by 38 percent since the high in 2002 and 26 percent since 1990.

  • Maine is approximately 75 percent of the way toward carbon neutrality, which means 75 percent of gross GHG emissions are offset by sequestration in the environment.

  • Annual CO2 emissions from fossil fuel combustion in the electric power sector have decreased by 91 percent since they peaked in 2002 largely by replacing high carbon fuels with lower carbon energy sources, primarily natural gas and renewable sources.

  • Total emissions from the transportation sector were 8 percent lower in 2019 than 1990; however, proportionally, the transportation sector was responsible for 49 percent of Maines CO2 emissions from the combustion of fossil fuels in 2019.

  • Maine reduced its GHG intensity and emissions per dollar, creating 29 percent less GHG emissions per billion btu (BBtu) of energy in 2019 than the high in 2002.

  • Maines economy has grown while GHG emissions have declined, with 53 percent less GHG emissions per million dollars of state gross domestic product (GDP) in 2019 compared to 1990.

Under Governor Mills' leadership, and in partnership with the Legislature, Maine has taken immediate action to protect the environment; fight climate change; and embrace clean, renewable energy opportunities. In December 2020, the Maine Climate Council released Maine Wont Wait, a comprehensive four-year climate action plan outlining steps to achieve Maines gross GHG reduction and climate change adaptation goals.

Under Governor Mills, Maine also has one of the nations most ambitious renewable energy requirements, with Maines Renewable Portfolio Standard increasing from 40 percent today to 80 percent by 2030 with a goal of utilizing 100 percent renewable energy by 2050. These measures and other policies in progress will keep Maine on its trajectory of reducing emissions while growing the economy.

Read the full report.

For additional information, contact: David R. Madore, Deputy Commissioner