Office of Carbon Emissions
Statewide Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions Inventory
The GHG Emissions Inventory Report for 2012 covers statewide emissions for the years 2010, 2011, and 2012. Estimated net greenhouse gas emissions are as follows: 112.7 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MMTCO2e) in 2010; 111.7 MMTCO2e in 2011; 104.6 MMTCO2e in 2012.
The three leading sectors of GHG emissions in 2012 are transportation, electricity generation, and residential, commercial and industrial fossil fuel use. Transportation remains as the largest source at 46.3 MMTCO2e, which is 41% of the gross statewide emissions. Electricity generation follows as the next largest source at 20.9 MMTCO2e, which is 19% of statewide emissions. The combined contribution of the residential, commercial and industrial sectors (primarily for heating) is 32.5 MMTCO2e, which is 29% of the gross emissions, of which residential heating is the most significant portion at 12.5 MMTCO2e, which is 11% of the gross emissions. Carbon captured by the state’s natural sinks (growth of forests and other vegetation plus soils left undisturbed) amounted to 7.9 MMTCO2e in 2012, “offsetting” 7% of the gross statewide GHG emissions.
The full report can be found here.
Net GHG emissions is the difference between the addition of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere through emissions, primarily carbon dioxide, and the removal of carbon from the atmosphere through sequestration via plant growth and land use (acting as natural carbon sinks). Gross emissions represent the total of all emissions, including carbon release from land clearing.
“Carbon dioxide equivalent” represents the conversion of all emitted compounds, which include methane and other gases, to the equivalent quantity of carbon dioxide using global warming potentials (GWP), as discussed in the periodic reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). See IPCC AR5, 2013, Climate Change 2013: Working Group I: The Physical Science Basis www.ipcc.ch/report/ar5/wg1/ (accessed 7/15/2014). The Technical Summary is available at www.climatechange2013.org/image/report/WGIAR5_TS_FINAL.pdf (accessed 7/15/2014).
Greenhouse Gas Emission Trends and the Global Warming Response Act (GWRA)
The Global Warming Response Act (N.J.S.A 26:2C-37) calls for a reduction of statewide greenhouse gas emissions to 80 percent below 2006 levels by 2050, a total of 25.4 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MMT CO2e). According to a recent GHG emissions estimate (2012), statewide releases were slightly under 105 MMT CO2e, with close to 90% coming from the combustion of fossil fuels to satisfy energy demand; e.g., electricity, home heating, home cooling. These emissions are called energy-related GHG emissions. For New Jersey to achieve the 2050 GWRA emissions limit, deep emission reductions from energy-related GHG emissions are necessary, although New Jersey’s attainment of the 2020 reduction goal in 2012 (8 years ahead of schedule) attests to the success of efforts thus far. The emission trends from 1990 to 2012 show significant progress toward achieving the goals of the Global Warming Response Act, as depicted in the chart below:
New Jersey’s GHG Emission Trends by Major Sources (million metric tons): 1990 - 2012