Total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions declined by 6.99 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MMTCO2e) to 418.15 MMTCO2e in 2019, or 1.6 percent decrease compared to 2018. This also represents 2.9 percent below the 1990 level of 431 MMTCO2e, the second largest percentage decrease since 2010.
In the last three years, California has decreased emissions by only 1.3 percent on average each year. At this rate, we’d have to reduce emissions more than threefold to hit 2030 emissions targets. At the current trajectory, the state will take significantly more time to reach the 2030 and 2050 emissions goals than it did to reach the 2020 goal. Assuming the same three-year average rate of reduction from 2017 to 2019 (-1.3%), California will reach its 2030 and 2050 goals in 2063 and 2111, respectively.
The transportation sector remains the largest-emitting sector in California by far, accounting for 40.7 percent of total included emissions in 2019 and down slightly from 40.9 percent in 2018.
GHG emissions from the commercial and residential sectors continued to climb despite an overall decreasing trend in total GHG emissions. In the five-year span from 2014 to 2019, these sectors’ share of GHG emissions rose from 4.8 percent to 5.8 percent for commercial and from 6.1 percent to 7.9 percent for residential. This is driven mainly by the continuous rise in the use of Substitutes for Ozone Depletion Substances for refrigeration and HVAC purposes, followed by fuel combustion in both the commercial and residential sectors.
So far, only the electric power sectors have seen dramatic reductions in emissions since 2000: 37.1 percent for in-state generation and more than half (-52.8%) for imports. Electric power emissions are down 1.5 percent from their 2017 levels after rising in 2018.