California’s greenhouse gas emissions rose slightly in 2018

Greenhouse gas emissions in California increased slightly in 2018 due largely to lower hydroelectric power use, according to a newspaper report Monday.

The state Air Resources Board said California emitted the equivalent of 425 million metric tons of carbon dioxide in 2018 — about a million more than in the previous year, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Pollution overall remained well below the state’s 2020 climate target of 431 million metric tons, a mark the state hit four years early, in 2016. But the unsteady progress underscores the challenge California faces as it pursues the more ambitious goal of cutting planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions another 40% by 2030, the Times said.

The increase in 2018 was mostly due to a decrease in the use of hydroelectric power resulting from lower precipitation in the winter of 2017-18, board spokesman Dave Clegern told the newspaper.

“That was partially compensated by increases in solar generation and other lower greenhouse gas intensity resources,” Glegern said.

Last year’s report found emissions reductions slowed in 2017, declining by 1.2%, versus a decline of 2.8% in 2016. To meet its 2030 goal, California must reverse that trend and significantly pick up the pace of emissions reductions across many sectors, the Times said.