Rhode Island: Emissions and Emissions Reduction Targets

SOURCE: ENE analysis using EPA State Inventory Tool and State Greenhouse Gas Emissions Targets

This chart shows state emissions trends (historical and projected) and emissions reduction targets, offering a picture of Rhode Island’s progress to date.

This chart shows total greenhouse gas emissions by sector, and tracks emissions trends in Rhode Island from 1990 through 2010.

This chart presents Rhode Island’s generation mix in 2001 and 2011, and shows the increasing role of energy efficiency.

Total state emissions have declined in the last decade, and transportation emissions have also decreased.

This chart compares motor gasoline emissions to forest sequestration/emissions in 2000 and 2010 to demonstrate how forests either add to or offset emissions.

All eight northeastern states have emissions reduction targets. In order to compare emissions trends with long-term targets, ENE extended EPA State Inventory Tool emissions projections out to 2050. According to ENE analysis and inventory data, Rhode Island did not meet its 2010 target and is not on track to meet its 2020 target if current emissions trends continue.

As part of ClimateVision 2020, ENE completed comprehensive greenhouse gas inventories for the eight northeastern states. Rhode Island’s total emissions have fluctuated over the inventory period, particularly between 1990 and 2000. Total state emissions in 2010 are higher than 1990 levels, but below 2000 levels. Rhode Island’s in-state generation portfolio has remained relatively constant over the last decade, with the bulk of power coming from natural gas-fueled power plants. Energy efficiency has taken a larger portion of the mix, slightly reducing Rhode Island’s reliance on natural gas. Unlike many other northeastern states, Rhode Island’s total emissions dropped in the last decade, but are still up from 1990 levels due to a dramatic increase in in-state electric generation after 1990. This increased generation resulted in increased exports of electricity to other states.

The carbon dioxide removed and stored by forests each year fluctuates according to harvest practices and changes in land use. Rhode Island forests were a source of emissions from 1999-2005, but currently remove more carbon than they emit and are able to offset 26% of motor gasoline emissions.