Greenhouse gas emissions in Washington were nearly flat from 2016 to 2017, falling by 116,700 metric tons of carbon dioxide, equivalent to to 97.5 million tons.
Below, you can learn more about where these emissions came from.
Washington's greenhouse gas emissions fell sharply following the 2008 recession, then began growing slowly again in 2012, albeit with dips in emissions in 2014 and 2017. The good news is that the growth in emissions has significantly lagged economic and population growth in Washington, showing that the state's economy is much more efficient, in greenhouse gas terms, than it was in the past. In 2017, for instance, Washington had the strongest economic growth in the nation, but emissions declined slightly.
Signs of progress
Emissions from electricity production were down in both 2016 and 2017, with sharp increases in the amount of renewable energy driving that trend. Some of this switch to renewables is attributable to Washington's Energy Independence Act, which requires state utilities to get 15 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2020. Future reductions in emissions will be driven by the 2019 Clean Energy Transformation Act, which requires utilities to stop using coal power by 2025, be greenhouse gas neutral by 2030, and use only non-emitting sources of electricity by 2045.
Reasons for concern
Emissions from shipping and transportation are up, due to increases in aviation, marine shipping, and diesel truck traffic. Emissions from home, business, and industrial heating are also up. With Washington's growing population and strong economy, reducing emissions in these areas will require new approaches.