California greenhouse emissions dropped for the third year in a row by 2011, when targeted facilities produced 111 million tons of CO2e. This is down from 117.6 million tons in 2010. The targeted facilities include power plants, cement facilities, oil refineries, general combustion and other sources.
According to a Jan.15, 2013 Environmental Leader article, electricity generation is California's biggest source of CO2e emissions, yet showed the largest decrease with emissions going from 44.6 million tons in 2010 to 34.9 million tons in 2011. The credit goes to increased energy generation from hydro, solar, wind and nuclear power, combined with a decrease in consumption. There was also a slight increase in electricity imports.
The emissions reports are a slow and well-delayed process, with reporting, rule change and verification processes that take time. The latest update to Mandatory Greenhouse Gas (GHG) reporting in California was on Jan. 11, 2012.
Refinery and hydrogen plants moved to first place in CO2e emissions, producing 35.1 million tons of CO2e in 2011. This was up from 34.7 in 2010.
Of the other targeted CO2e sources, co-generation had the only reduction from 2010 to 2011. Co-generation produced 9.6 million tons of CO2e in 2011, down from 11.7 million tons in 2010.
Oil and gas production went from 10.3 million tons in 2010 to 12.6 million tons in 2011.
General combustion sources produced 12.6 million tons in 2011, up from 11.7 million tons in 2010.
Cement plants reached 6.2 million tons, up from 5.6 million tons.
California established a carbon target based on CO2e levels in 1990. The goal is to achieve a 15 percent reduction by 2020. The program establishes mandatory reporting by facilities, fuel suppliers and electricity importers. These entities submit annual emissions data reports. The 2011 data represents 581 facilities, suppliers and electricity importers.
California started selling GHG permits under a cap-and-trade system in November 2012. These permits allow businesses to pay $10.09 per metric ton for the right to release carbon in 2013. So far, the program raised $300 million when 23.1 million permits were sold under heavy bidding at the first cap-and-trade auction.