Vermont Public is independent, community-supported media, serving Vermont with trusted, relevant and essential information. We share stories that bring people together, from every corner of our region. New to Vermont Public? Start here.

© 2024 Vermont Public | 365 Troy Ave. Colchester, VT 05446

Public Files:
WVTI · WOXM · WVBA · WVNK · WVTQ · WVTX
WVPR · WRVT · WOXR · WNCH · WVPA
WVPS · WVXR · WETK · WVTB · WVER
WVER-FM · WVLR-FM · WBTN-FM

For assistance accessing our public files, please contact hello@vermontpublic.org or call 802-655-9451.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Maine is exceeding its greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals

This slide provided by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection shows a steady decrease in greenhouse gas emissions since a peak in 2002. The slight increase in emissions from 2020 to 2021 is a result of a post-pandemic rebound, according to the agency
Ari Snider
/
Maine DEP
This slide provided by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection shows a steady decrease in greenhouse gas emissions since a peak in 2002. The slight increase in emissions from 2020 to 2021 is a result of a post-pandemic rebound, according to the agency

Maine is exceeding its emissions reduction goals, according to a new report from the state Department of Environmental Protection. The agency said Maine has reduced greenhouse gas emissions even as economic output increases.

As of 2021, Maine's greenhouse gas emissions had fallen 30% below 1990 levels, according to the DEP's latest biennial emissions inventory released Tuesday. That puts the state ahead of schedule toward its goal of an 80% reduction by 2050, if current trendlines continue.

The DEP's Stacy Knapp said the reductions indicate that Maine's economy is transitioning to cleaner fuels, more efficient technology, and less carbon intensive industries.

"The point here is that Maine's GDP continues to grow steadily, while at the same time, at least since the peak in 2002, our gross greenhouse gas emissions are decreasing," she said.

Greenhouse gas emissions have fallen even as GDP has increased, according to the DEP.
Ari Snider
/
Maine DEP
Greenhouse gas emissions have fallen even as GDP has increased, according to the DEP.

Knapp said much of the emissions reduction can be linked to a decrease in petroleum fuel consumption. Maine's overall energy consumption is also trending downward, according to the report.

And when accounting for the amount of carbon dioxide soaked up by the state's forests, Knapp said Maine is close to achieving carbon neutrality — in other words, absorbing as much greenhouse gases as it emits.

"We are 91% percent of the way there," Knapp said. "We are so close we can almost taste it."

Knapp said that most of the state's emissions still come from burning fossil fuels.

In recent years, Maine's natural gas consumption has actually increased, largely to make up for reduced hydropower.

Transportation remains the state's most polluting sector, according to the report, far outpacing emissions from residential, commercial and industrial uses. While emissions from the transportation sector have fallen slightly since 1990, they remain stubbornly high.

Knapp said while the big picture findings are encouraging, recent trends will need to continue for the state to achieve its long-term goals.

Latest Stories