New Report Indicates Continued Decline in Gas Emissions

January 18, 2020, 4:19 PM HST (Updated January 18, 2020, 4:28 PM)
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The state is making progress in mitigating the threats of climate change. According to recently reported data, Hawaii is on target to meet the state’s goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The Greenhouse Gas Emissions Report for 2016, contains the most recent data released by the Hawai‘i Department of Health’s Clean Air Branch. Projections in the report, prepared by ICF, a global consulting and digital services provider, and the University of Hawai‘i Economic Research Organization (UHERO) for the Department of Health, indicate Hawai‘i is on target to meet the state’s goal established by the legislature in 2007 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to be equal to or below 1990 levels.

“Because of our ambitious goals and the collective actions as a state to address climate change, Hawai‘i is on target to meet its statewide greenhouse gas emission milestones this year. For the next few years, we will track and report our progress as we continue to move rapidly to decarbonize our economy, especially in our transportation and power sectors—to meet our 2045 clean energy goals,” said Gov. Ige.

The report, dated December 2019, and a summary of key findings are available on the Clean Air Branch’s Hawai‘i greenhouse gas program webpage at: https://health.hawaii.gov/cab/hawaii-greenhouse-gas-program/. These positive trends are expected to continue, primarily because of the Hawai‘i Clean Energy Initiative, whose goal is to achieve 100% clean energy by 2045.

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The state met its greenhouse gas emission limit of 10.84 million metric tons (MMT) in 2016, and statewide greenhouse gas emission projections of 8.37 MMT and 6.43 MMT for 2020 and 2025, respectively, indicate Hawaii is on target to meet its statewide greenhouse gas emissions limit this year. This finding will be reassessed and updated in next year’s report.

“Hawai‘i remains on the right path to mitigate the effects of climate change, and we must continue to stay on track,” said Dr. Bruce Anderson, health director. “The Department of Health requires greenhouse gas emission caps for the largest stationary sources of air pollution, and major sources of greenhouse gas emissions are taking responsibility for implementing the reductions. Everyone must do their part to continue these efforts.”

Total state emissions are projected to decrease largely because of the combined decrease in emissions from electric power plants and petroleum refineries.

Electric utilities, specifically, are seeking to meet the state’s “renewable portfolio standard” mandates, which require increasing use of renewable energy sources to generate electricity until Hawai‘i is no longer dependent on fossil fuels and uses 100% of renewable energy sources by 2045.

The state’s “energy efficiency portfolio standard” target mandates a reduction in energy use—a decrease of 4,300 gigawatt-hours of electricity use by 2030. Based on the average efficiency of fossil fuel electricity generation in Hawai‘i, this would be equivalent to about 3.7 million metric tons of greenhouse gas removed.

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