In 2007 Oregon set a 2020 greenhouse gas reduction goal that is almost 30% below today's levels. How do we get there? In October 2010 the Oregon Global Warming Commission unanimously adopted a roadmap of ideas.
Understanding how much global warming pollution is being emitted and where those emissions are coming from is an important step to reducing emissions in Oregon. It also provides a baseline for measuring progress as the state strives to reduce its emissions.
If you account for the greenhouse gases emitted in Oregon, as well as emissions associated with electricity used by Oregonians, then the total amount of greenhouse gases that Oregon is responsible for (i.e., its “carbon footprint”) is currently fluctuating around 65-70 million metric tons per year. The six greenhouse gases which dominate global warming pollution are included in this total, normalized so that the relative warming “strength” of each of the gases is equivalent to that of carbon dioxide (carbon dioxide equivalent or CO2e). As can be seen below, carbon dioxide emissions dominate in Oregon relative to the other gases and have been growing since 1990.
By grouping greenhouse gas emission sources into four major categories of economic activity in Oregon, and looking at the contribution of those categories over time, it is clear that there is no one sector which clearly dominates Oregon’s carbon footprint. The transportation of goods and people accounts for the largest share of emissions at about 37 to 38 percent of emissions in recent years. Residential and commercial activity in homes, offices, stores and the like, is a close second, at around 33 to 35 percent of emissions. The industrial sector has been stable in recent years at around 20 percent of emissions. Agricultural activities have hovered at around 8 percent and represent the smallest share of emissions in Oregon.
Oregon does not yet have comprehensive information on which individual emitters or facilities are the largest “point sources” for greenhouse gas emissions. In 2009 Oregon started requiring large emitters of greenhouse gases to report those emissions to the state (mandatory greenhouse gas reporting) so that information will be available in the future.
You can find the greenhouse gas emission estimates used for the information above at this location. If you want a more detailed explanation of the state’s greenhouse gas inventory, as well as emission forecasts and other analyses, please refer to Appendix 1 of this 2008 report to the Governor, A Framework for Addressing Rapid Climate Change.