Maine DEP Releases Report on Greenhouse Gas Emissions Showing Maine on Track to Meet Immediate Goals

January 13, 2020

CONTACT: David Madore, Communications Director (207) 287-5842 david.madore@maine.gov

Report also reveals that more work is necessary to meet long-term emission reduction goals established in law

Augusta, MAINE, January 13, 2020 - The Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) today released its Eighth Biennial Report on Progress Toward Greenhouse Gas Reduction Goals. The report, which provides a comprehensive analysis of Maine's greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) by fuel source and economic sector, concludes that Maine is on-track to meet the medium-term goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 10 percent less than 1990 levels by January 1, 2020.

The report also shows that statewide GHG emissions increased from the initially measured levels in 1990, reaching a peak in 2002. By 2008, emissions fell below 1990 levels, reaching a low in 2012 before rising again slightly from 2013 to 2015 and trending downward again in 2016 and 2017. Emissions have remained at least 10 percent lower than 1990 levels since 2012, and, as of 2017, were 17.5 percent lower than 1990 levels.

However, the report also demonstrates that more must be done in order to meet the States statutory emissions reductions goal. Approved by an overwhelming bipartisan majority of the Legislature and signed into law by Governor Janet Mills, the State must reduce emissions by 45 percent from the 1990 levels by 2030 and 80 percent by 2050.

"This report is further proof that growing our economy and fighting climate change are not mutually exclusive - in fact, they go hand-in-hand," said Governor Mills. "By investing in energy efficient technologies like heat pumps and by embracing clean, renewable energy sources like solar and wind, we can diversify our economy, create good-paying jobs that attract young families to our state, and protect our environment and the health of our people from the impacts of climate change. There is more work to do to meet our climate goals and my Administration looks forward to doing it."

"This report proves we can reduce our greenhouse gas emissions at the same time we grow our economy," said DEP Commissioner Jerry Reid. "It shows that significant emission reductions are well within our ability, but also that we have a lot more work to do before meeting our long-term goals."

The report also found that:

  • 90 percent of GHG emissions in Maine are the result of energy consumption, mostly produced by combustion of petroleum products. Annual emissions in this source category have been reduced by 35 percent since the high in 2002 and 14 percent since 2010
  • Statewide carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are more than 17 percent lower than 1990 levels in large part because of the use of lower carbon fuels such as natural gas and increased efficiencies
  • Annual CO2 emissions from fossil fuel combustion in the electric power sector have decreased by 83 percent since they peaked in 2002 largely by replacing high carbon fuels with natural gas and renewable sources
  • The transportation sector was responsible for 54 percent of Maines CO2 emissions in 2017, an increase from the 1990 contribution of 44 percent
  • Maine is creating 25% less GHG emissions per billion Btu (BBtu) of energy in 2017 than the high in 2002
  • In 2017, Maines annual GHG emissions per million dollars of state gross domestic product (GDP) were 45 percent less than in 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. Last year, Governor Mills introduced and signed into law bipartisan legislation to establish the Maine Climate Council, which is charged with updating Maines Climate Act Plan to meet the States emission reduction targets and is responsible for developing strategies to help ensure that Maines economy and communities are resilient to the effects of climate change.

Maine is investing in law carbon heating and transportation solutions and, under Governor Mills, now 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, along with recommendations expected from the Maine Climate Council, will help put Maine on a path to reducing emissions and growing the economy.

Read the full report.