Climate change: Greenhouse gas emissions in Minnesota
New report about greenhouse gas reduction in Minnesota
In 2010, about 32% of the GHG emissions were from the generation of electricity and about 24% of emissions were from transportation fuels. The Next Generation Energy Act established a goal to reduce GHG emissions to a level 15% below 2005 emissions by 2015; in 2010, GHG emissions were about 3% less than 2005 emissions.Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Biennial Report
Progress to meeting Next Generation Energy Act goals
The Next Generation Energy Act of 2007 set targets for energy conservation, renewable energy use and greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reductions. The Next Generation Energy Act set a goal that would reduce GHG emissions in 2015 to a level 15% below the 2005 level, and also for 2025 and 2050 emissions levels to be 30% and 80%, respectively, below the 2005 emission levels (Minn. Stat. § 216H.02)
GHG emissions in 2010 totaled 155.6 million CO2-equivalent tons (CO2-e). Between 2005 and 2010, GHG emissions from Minnesota declined by 5 million CO2-e, or about 3 percent, with the most significant reductions coming from electric power utilities and transportation energy use. The full report contains more detail.
Tracking progress on Minnesota greenhouse gas emissions
Greenhouse gas emissions by economic sector
Emissions are grouped by sector (agricultural, commercial, electric generation, industrial, residential, transportation, and waste) and into major activity groups (energy use and fuel production, agricultural process, industrial process, and waste management emissions).
Greenhouse gas emissions from Minnesota by economic sector: 1970-2010
Greenhouse gas emissions from Minnesota by economic sector: 2010 percentages of total emissions
Emissions from transportation and electric power generation comprised roughly 56% of all Minnesota GHG emissions in 2010.
Electric generation sector
Between 2005 and 2010, emissions of GHGs from electricity generation declined by 7 million CO2-equivalent tons, or about 13%. Emissions from coal combustion account for about 65% of greenhouse gas emissions from electricity generation, and have declined in recent years.
Greenhouse gas emissions from the electric generation sector: 1970-2010
While most of the electricity consumed in Minnesota is generated within the state, some electricity is purchased from utilities outside the state borders. In 2010, imported electricity supplied 26% of the electricity consumed in the state. This imported electricity is included as a source of greenhouse gas emissions.
Some sources of electricity are not shown in this figure because they do not generate GHG emissions. Nuclear power is a significant source of electricity generated in Minnesota, and electricity from wind turbines is an expanding source of energy.
Greenhouse gas emissions from transportation sector in Minnesota
In 2010, GHG emissions from transportation were an estimated 37.4 million CO2-equivalent tons. Between 2005 and 2008, total transportation emissions decreased by 4.2 million CO2-equivalent tons, or by about 10%.
Indicators and explanation of trends
Measures of GHG emission intensity are useful in understanding how GHG emissions change in relation to other Minnesota trends. Indicators related to GHG emissions include population, economic outputs and energy consumption.
The trend in emissions in relation to each of these indicators is shown in the figure below as relative to 1990 levels of emission intensity.
Indicators of greenhouse gas emission intensity
The decline in Minnesota’s economic output and resulting decrease in energy were the primary drivers in the decrease in GHG emissions in 2009. The GHG intensity of Minnesota’s economy has steadily declined. The GHGs/gross state product indicator shows that Minnesota’s economy is increasingly efficient in terms of GHG emissions per economic output. The GHG intensity of Minnesota’s energy has remained fairly constant because our energy sources are still predominantly fossil fuels. The slight decrease in the GHGs/MMBtu indicator shows the effect of energy efficiency and renewable energy.
- Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Biennial Report A report on statewide progress toward greenhouse gas reduction goals enumerated in the Next Generation Energy Act, including a summary of emissions by economic sector and by major activities, with long term trends and social and economic indicators. (January 2013)
- Greenhouse Gas Emissions in Minnesota - 1970-2006 A report on statewide progress toward greenhouse-gas-reduction goals enumerated in the Next Generation Energy Act, including a summary of emissions by economic sector and by major activities, with long term trends and social and economic indicators. (June 2009)
- Greenhouse Gas Emissions in Minnesota - 1970-2006 - Data Summary This spreadsheet contains the summarized data used in the report (1970-2006). Keys for organizing the data into the same economic sectors and activities as in the report are included. It is important to note that the numbers in this spreadsheet and subsequent iteration of the analysis are subject to change if methods or original data are updated.