The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has released the state Greenhouse Gas Inventory requested by Governor Roy Cooper’s Executive Order 80. The inventory contains a detailed accounting of greenhouse gases from human activity in key source categories from 1990 to 2017, including both emissions and reductions.
The inventory also projects North Carolina’s greenhouse gas emissions from 2018 to 2030 based on forecasted changes in fuel use, land use, population, historical trends, and other factors.
Governor Cooper’s executive order set a goal of 40% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) from 2005 levels by the year 2025. In 2017, statewide net GHG reductions were down 23.7% from 2005 levels. By 2025, net GHG emissions are forecasted to decline by 31% from 2005 levels based on current state and federal policies in place.
“Clean air and a healthy environment are vital for a strong economy and a healthier future,” said Gov. Cooper. “It is encouraging to see a decline in our state’s greenhouse gas emissions and this inventory helps show us the work we have yet to do.”
Greenhouse gas emissions trap heat in the atmosphere and are a key factor in climate change. Scientists have found climate change makes weather more erratic, droughts and rainfalls more intense, and storms larger and more powerful.
In testimony before a Congressional committee last week, Cooper said that North Carolina is experiencing the effects of climate change, including back-to-back 500-year floods caused by tropical storms and heat waves that threaten agriculture. A recent U.S. Department of Defense report on climate change also found that two North Carolina military installations, Fort Bragg and Military Ocean Terminal Sunny Point, are at risk for wildfires and recurring flooding.
“This inventory serves as the foundation for key first steps in our efforts to achieve our goals on greenhouse gas reductions. The inventory gives us a clear picture of where we are and how far we need to go,” said DEQ Secretary Michael S. Regan.
The draft GHG inventory was released for public comment in December. The final report reflects changes based on the incorporation of public feedback and other updates since the draft version.
The final report is available at https://deq.nc.gov/energy-climate/climate-change/greenhouse-gas-inventory.