But is Only NE State to Reduce Global Warming Emissions in 2004 and 2005
Natural Resources Council of Maine * Environment Maine
AUGUSTA – Today, the Natural Resources Council of Maine and Environment Maine highlighted the need for swift and strong action to curb global warming pollution by releasing a new report, Falling Behind: New England Must Act Now to Reduce Global Warming Pollution. The first study to produce a thorough estimate of global warming emissions through 2005, it found that global warming emissions in Maine have increased by 500,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MTCO2E) from 2001 to 2005.
2001 is the year that New England governors signed the Climate Change Action Plan, pledging to reduce emissions to 1990 levels by 2010, 10% below 1990 levels by 2020, and 75-85% below 2001 levels by 2050. The increase in global warming emissions has put the region farther from hitting these targets, which scientists agree is necessary to avoid the worst effects of global warming. To reach these targets, Maine must cut emissions 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2010 and 26 percent below 2005 levels by 2020.
“If Maine is serious about meeting our commitments and cutting global warming pollution, we need to take action now, beginning with the adoption of required energy efficiency standards for new buildings,” said Dylan Voorhees of the Natural Resources Council of Maine. “We are falling behind, and now is the time to catch up.”
Transportation is the leading source of global warming emissions in Maine. These emissions increased by 7 percent between 2001 and 2005 regionwide, accounting for the largest share of the increase, or 5 million MTCO2E. This change reflects more driving, more trucking, and more flying.
“Our state leaders need to put the brakes on transportation emissions,” said Matthew Davis of Environment Maine. “There are plenty of policies at our fingertips to reduce global warming from moving people and goods around. The Legislature should pass An Act to Implement the Recommendations of the Governor’s Task Force on Rail, acting to stabilize our existing passenger rail while we pursue options to expand it towards Brunswick.”
The good news for New England is that global warming pollution fell slightly from 2004 to 2005—the first year-to-year decrease since 2001—and that several indicators suggest that the decrease in emissions continued and accelerated in 2006. Total emissions in New England dropped 600,000 MTCO2E between 2004 and 2005, which is 0.3 percent.
In Maine, global warming emissions dropped slightly between 2004 and 2005, largely due to greater use of hydro and biomass power, fewer heating degree days, and a drop in industrial usage due to mill shutdowns. These reductions were great enough to offset the 4 percent increase in gasoline usage.
“The progress we’ve made to cut electricity emissions with RGGI is significant, but we need to make sure our efforts pay off in real reductions,” commented Matthew Davis. “Without tightening the cap, it won’t achieve what it was created to do.”
“To jumpstart wind power development in Maine, the Legislature needs to pass the legislation that was based on the conclusions of the Governor’s Wind Power Task Force,” said Voorhees. “Without more clean energy sources like wind, we will continue to fail to meet our global warming goals.”