The Legislature has given us the responsibility to track the state's greenhouse gas emissions, to measure the progress state agencies are making to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, and to make recommendations on whether the state needs to set more stringent targets for emission reductions.
Slowing climate change
The Legislature recognized the need to help slow climate change to protect Washington's natural resources, public health, and infrastructure for future generations. In 2008, the Legislature adopted reduction targets for greenhouse gases (commonly known as GHG or carbon pollution).
Washington's current targets are to:
- Reduce overall greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020.
- Reduce overall greenhouse gas emissions 25 percent below 1990 levels by 2035.
- Reduce overall greenhouse gas emissions 50 percent below 1990 levels by 2050.
Washington's greenhouse gas inventory
We publish an inventory of Washington's greenhouse gases every two years, measuring the state's progress in reducing greenhouse gases compared to a 1990 baseline. This inventory helps us design policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and track progress toward meeting the state’s reduction limits. The inventory is based on data from a variety of sources, such as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Energy Information Administration and looks at greenhouse gas sources from:
In 2015, Washington’s largest contributors of greenhouse gases were:
- Fossil fuel industry
- Industrial processes
- Waste management
- Transportation sector — 42.5 percent
- Residential, commercial, and industrial sector — 21.3 percent
- Electricity sector — 19.5 percent
Required greenhouse gas reporting programs
We require facilities
that emit at least 10,000 metric tons of carbon pollution annually to report their greenhouse gas emissions. We also require state
agencies with a baseline of 5,000 metric tons, and universities or colleges with a baseline of 10,000 metric tons, to report their emissions.