Data Source: California Air Resource Board Analysis by Beacon Economics
  • California has made tremendous progress reducing its GHG emissions, but there are a few sub-sectors and activities where GHG emissions have risen. From 2008 to 2021, statewide total included GHG emissions decreased by 20.4 percent, while GHG emissions in these sub-sectors (Figure 14) increased by 77.7 percent during the same period. GHG emissions associated with landscape (the use of nitrogen fertilizer on turf) from the commercial and residential sectors have risen gradually, increasing by 7.9 percent and 7.5 percent from 2008 to 2021, respectively. As the population decreased from 2019 to 2021, GHG emissions associated with landscape from these two sectors remained unchanged over that period.
  • GHG emissions from fuel combustion of biogenic materials (including biofuels and other biogenic energy sources) from on-road transportation have been rapidly increasing, up 211.8 percent in 2021 compared to 2008. It rose sharply in 2021, jumping by 27 percent year-over-year from 2020, despite the 10.9 percent decrease from 2019 to 2020 This rising GHG emissions from fuel combustion of biogenic materials isn't necessarily negative because emissions from biogenic materials don't permanently or irreversibly raise the atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gases. These emissions, not accounted for in the included emissions inventory, stem from burning biodiesel, ethanol, and renewable diesel. While these fuel sources do emit some greenhouse gases, it would represent progress if they could replace gasoline combustion.
  • Surprisingly, GHG emissions from commercial fuel combustion activities for non-specified sub-sectors have continuously decreased since 2019. The GHG emissions from commercial fuel combustion activities for non-specified sub-sectors declined year-over-year by 5.0 percent in 2020 and further decreased by 2.6 percent in 2021. As a result, emissions were 7.5 percent below 2019 levels and 3.1 percent below 2008 levels. In fact, California has been a pioneer in promoting green building and energy efficiency in commercial buildings. California adopted groundbreaking building codes aimed at reducing embodied carbon emissions in construction, remodel, or adaptive reuse projects for commercial buildings larger than 100,000 sq ft and school projects over 50,000 sq ft. These changes, which go into effect on July 1, 2024, make California the first state in the U.S. to set general code standards requiring the reduction of embodied carbon emissions in building projects.33

33 AIA California. California becomes first State to Adopt Mandatory Measures in Building Code to Reduce Embodied Carbon. August 4, 2023. Assessed Feb 7, 2024. Retrieved from: