California’s greenhouse gas emissions dropped for the third straight year with power plants, cement facilities, oil refineries, general combustion sources and other facilities emitting 111 million tons of CO2e in 2011, according to numbers released by the California Air Resources Board.
Emissions from electricity generation — which until 2011 had been California’s single biggest GHG source — saw the most significant reductions in 2011, falling 22 percent compared to 2010 levels, from 44.6 million tons of CO2e to 34.9 million tons of CO2e.
According to CARB, the decreases in electricity generation GHGs are a result of increased renewable generation, including more hydro, solar, wind and nuclear power, and a decrease in consumption. The state board says there was a slight increase in electricity imports.
The drop in electricity generation emissions makes refinery and hydrogen plants (35.1 million tons of CO2e) the state’s largest source of facility emissions.
The latest emissions numbers put California closer to reaching its 2020 carbon target. The state has said it will reduce emissions 15 percent by 2020, from 1990 levels.
California’s Regulation for the Mandatory Reporting of Greenhouse Gas Emissions requires facilities, fuel suppliers and electricity importers to submit emissions data reports annually. The 2011 data represents 581 facilities, suppliers and electricity importers, according to CARB.
The figures were revised soon after they were released because of a CARB staff error. (The corrected figure is highlighted in yellow, above.)
In November 2012, California’s inaugural sale of GHG permits under the state’s new cap-and-trade system raised nearly $300 million with emitting businesses paying $10.09 per metric ton for the right to release carbon in 2013.