Report: Minnesota’s greenhouse gasses have declined

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency says greenhous gas emissions have declined by over 20% in a 15 year period.

The MPCA and the Minnesota Department of Commerce have submitted the biennial report, tracking the state’s greenhouse gas emissions from 2005 to 2020. Greenhouse gas emissions went down by 23% during that time period. If current conditions continue, the MPCA says the state is on track to meet its goal of reducing emissions 30% by 2025.

According to the agency, the largest decline of greenhouse gas emissions is in electrical generation, with a reduction of 54% from 2005 to 2020. This is a result of Minnesota’s electricity generation sector transitioning away from coal, and toward renewable energy.

The report shows the transportation sector remaining the state’s largest source of greenhouse gas emissions, accounting for about 25%. Light and heavy-duty trucks are major contributors. Greenhouse gasses from the agriculture and forestry sector remained flat, with carbon capture from forest growth offsetting a rise in emissions from crop and animal agriculture.

Emissions from the residential sector have risen 14%, including homes and apartment buildings, according to the report. For the commercial sector, greenhouse gas emissions have dropped 22%. That includes businesses, hospitals, and schools, and is driven by the declining use of oil and natural gas in these facilities, which peaked in 2014.

The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in changes within many sectors, causing Minnesota’s greenhouse gas emissions to drop significantly in 2020. The MPCA says future years’ data will show whether these trends continue, since emissions in many sectors were already declining in 2018 and 2019.

The state’s Next Generation Energy Act set statutory benchmarks to reduce greenhouse emissions 15% from 2005 levels by 2015, 30% by 2025, and 80% by 2050. In 2022, Minnesota’s Climate Action Framework updated goals for the state to reduce emissions 50% by 2030 and achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.