Minnesota’s greenhouse gas emissions fall 23% since 2005; state on track to meet 2025 goals

(ABC 6 News) – Tuesday, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) and Minnesota Department of Commerce submitted a 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 the state’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.

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.