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ANR Report Shows First Drop In Vermont's Greenhouse Gas Emissions Since 2011

Close-up of a car exhaust tailpipe
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A new report shows Vermont had an overall 4% decrease in greenhouse gas emissions from 2015 to 2016, however there was a minor increase in emissions from the transportation sector specifically during that timeframe.

Greenhouse gas emissions decreased 4% from 2015 to 2016, according to a report released this month by the Agency of Natural Resources, marking the first time Vermont's emissions have gone down since 2011.

However, the transportation sector remains one of the largest sources of emissions in the state — and actually showed a minor increase in its emissions during that same timeframe of overall decline.

"The decrease was mainly from two different sectors: the electricity sector, and the residential, commercial and industrial fuel use sector," explained Collin Smythe, the primary author of the report. He added that the reduction can partly be attributed to a warm winter in 2016.

More from Brave Little State — How Can Vermonters Drive Less? [December 2019]

Smythe, who works with the Department of Environmental Conservation's Air Quality and Climate Division, said Vermont has more to do before reaching its emissions reduction goals.

"It's a positive thing that we have had reductions from 2015 to 2016," Smythe said, but he pointed out that the state's emissions in 2016 were still 13% higher than they were back in 1990.

"We've got a long way to go to get to where we need to be," Smythe said.

Lawmakers this session are poised to consider if Vermont should join the Transportation and Climate Initiative, a regional compact that aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Critics of the plan cite higher projected fuel prices, and Gov. Phil Scott said in his State of the State address Thursday that he couldn't get behind proposals that increase costs for Vermonters.

The Agency of Natural Resources plans to release another report later this year that will include data from 2017.

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