Today, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) and Minnesota Department of Commerce submitted the biennial report tracking the state’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to the Minnesota Legislature. The report shows that between 2005 and 2020, Minnesota's GHG emissions declined by 23%. If current trends continue, Minnesota is on track to meet its goal of reducing emissions 30% by 2025.
The largest decline in GHG emissions is in electricity generation, with a reduction of 54% from 2005-2020. This is the result of Minnesota’s electricity generation sector transitioning away from coal and toward renewable energy, a trend that is continuing with investments in clean energy sources such as wind and solar.
The transportation sector remains Minnesota’s largest source of GHGs, accounting for about 25% of Minnesota’s emissions. Light- and heavy-duty trucks are the largest sources of GHG emissions in the transportation sector. GHGs from the agriculture and forestry sector remained flat, with carbon capture from forest growth offsetting a rise in emissions from crop and animal agriculture.
“Industry policy shifts, better agricultural practices, and personal behavior changes during the pandemic provided Minnesota with a course correction, but it is essential that we double-down on climate actions that can keep us on track," said MPCA Commissioner Katrina Kessler. “The Walz-Flanagan Administration’s Climate Action Framework and One Minnesota budget make smart investments and policy changes to further advance our state’s climate goals.”
Commerce Commissioner Grace Arnold said, “This report shows we have successes to celebrate and we have a clear path forward with the Climate Action Framework. We now have a historic opportunity for investments in clean energy, from the billions in federal funds and actions being taken by the state Legislature, to the collective efforts happening across this state by individuals and businesses, schools and other local governments, communities of all types and sizes, and our tribal nations in Minnesota.”
Emissions from the residential sector, including homes and apartment buildings, have risen 14%. For the commercial sector, which includes businesses, hospitals, and schools, GHG emissions have dropped 22%, driven by the declining use of oil and natural gas in these facilities, which peaked in 2014.
The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in changes within many sectors, which caused Minnesota’s greenhouse gas emissions to drop significantly in 2020. Future years' data will show whether these trends continue, since emissions in many sectors were already declining in 2018 and 2019.
The state’s bipartisan 2007 Next Generation Energy Act set statutory benchmarks to reduce greenhouse emissions 15% from 2005 levels by 2015, 30% by 2025, and 80% by 2050. In 2022, Minnesota’s Climate Action Framework updated goals for the state to reduce emissions 50% by 2030 and achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.
The Climate Action Framework also identifies a series of actions Minnesota must take to reduce our GHG emissions and to prepare our communities for the impacts of climate change. The framework provided the foundation for many of the Walz-Flanagan administration’s 2023 budget proposals, which will cut climate pollution while adding thousands of jobs across the state. For more information, visit mn.gov/framework.