Minnesota greenhouse gas emissions fall, state says
One Alexandria climate activist said the state "glossed over" the lack of progress in reducing emissions from agriculture.
MINNESOTA — Minnesota says its greenhouse gas emissions have fallen 23% since 2005 and that the state is on track to meet its climate goals for the first time. The state wants to reduce emissions 30% by 2025 and 50% by 2030, and eliminate emissions by 2050.
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and the Minnesota Department of Commerce announced in a Jan. 31 news release that the largest declines came in the energy sector, driven by efforts to replace coal with solar panels and wind turbines. The commercial sector, which includes businesses, hospitals and schools, also saw declines as it relied less on oil and natural gas. Its emissions dropped 22%.
The COVID-19 pandemic was another reason Minnesota’s greenhouse gas emissions fell, the agencies said, saying emissions dropped "significantly" in 2020.
Not all sectors saw declines in their emissions. Emissions from homes, including houses and apartment buildings, rose 14%.
Greenhouse gas emissions actually increased on Minnesota farms, but the agencies said forest growth offset the increase in emissions from crop and animal agriculture, leaving the agriculture and forestry with no change in emissions.
One Alexandria climate activist, Jeanne Johnson, said the state "glossed over" the lack of progress in reducing emissions from agriculture, which contributes 11% of the country's greenhouse gases, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
"The fact is that as more fallow land is converted to cropland, more soil-based carbon is released into the air," she said. She also pointed to feedlots that house thousands of cattle, which produce methane as part of their digestive process.
Johnson is a member of the local climate group, Citizens for a Sustainable Future.
Transportation accounts for most greenhouse gas emissions, about 25% of the total, the agencies said. Light- and heavy-duty trucks are the largest source of the emissions.
The agencies said they would be tracking these trends. More information about steps the state plans to take to reduce greenhouse gases and prepare communities for the impacts of climate change can be found online at mn.gov/framework .