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California’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions Identified & Measured

The California Energy Commission has released a  report that provides estimates of the state’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions compared over a 15-year period. The report, Inventory of California Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks: 1990 to 2004, provides policy makers and researchers with the sources of emissions that could alter the climate and landscape of California.

“This latest report provides us with a good guide to measure future reductions in the gases that contribute to global climate change,” said B.B. Blevins, Energy Commission Executive Director. “This inventory will be invaluable in working to ensure that emissions are reduced to 1990 levels by 2020 in accordance with the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006.”

In 2004, California produced 492 million metric tons of CO2-equivalent GHG emissions, including emissions associated with imported electricity. GHG emissions include carbon dioxide (CO2) methane, nitrous oxide, and assorted high global warming potential gases. CO2 is a colorless, odorless gas naturally present in the atmosphere. It is produced by breathing as well as from the combustion of fossils fuels. CO2 is absorbed by trees and plants during photosynthesis.

Due to increasing population and economic growth, total gross greenhouse gas emissions still rose 14.3 percent from 1990 to 2004.

In 2004, CO2 emissions represented 84 percent of the state’s total greenhouse gas emissions. Additionally, 81 percent of all CO2 emissions were produced by burning fossil fuels. The largest sector was transportation – which included gasoline and jet fuel consumption – at 40.7 percent; electricity generation (22.2 percent); industrial (20.5 percent); agriculture and forestry (8.3 percent); and other (8.3 percent) rounded out the equation.

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