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* Percentage reduction below 1990 baseline level
** Source: MassDEP (2014). Massachusetts Annual Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory

The Global Warming Solutions Act (GWSA), signed by Governor Patrick in August of 2008, created a framework for reducing heat-trapping emissions to levels that scientists believe give us a decent chance of avoiding the worst effects of global warming. It requires reductions from all sectors of the economy to reach a target of a 25% reduction of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions by 2020 and an 80% reduction by 2050.

Massachusetts is showing the way to a clean energy economy — and it is reaping some of the direct benefits in economic growth — through the development of smart, targeted policies that reduce emissions by promoting greater energy efficiency, developing renewable energy, and encouraging other alternatives to the combustion of fossil fuels. This dashboard offers insights into the progress being made towards the goals of the GWSA.

Explore below for indicators of clean energy and climate in the Commonwealth, based on state-wide general trends.  For indicators of our progress toward strategies/policies outlined in the Clean Energy and Climate Plan for 2020 (“2020 Plan”), please visit “Progress on the 2020 Plan”.  Please visit “MA GHG Emission Trends" for the analysis of GHG trends by sector and by fuel type.


Clean Energy and Climate Indicators

Massachusetts Climate Progress
Where is the Pollution From?
Big Trends: Greenhouse Gas Emissions by Sector
Largest Massachusetts Greenhouse Gas Sources
What Fuels Electricity Production?
Growing Energy Efficiency
Rising Renewable Energy
Highway Travel Increases and Levels
Transportation Sector Fuel Consumption
MBTA Ridership Stable and Slowly Rising Again
Walkable Communities
More Clean Energy Jobs
Massachusetts Climate and Energy Progress


Emissions from residents, businesses, vehicles and other sources are 15% less than in 1990.  This progress comes from new state policies and programs to provide cleaner, more efficient energy, cleaner cars, relative changes in fuel prices as well as from the global economic downturn. GWSA’s goals are a 25% reduction by 2020 and 80% by 2050.  Making the next 9% reduction while enhancing the overall economy is the focus of the state’s efforts. Text version of the above graph pdf format of Annual Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions and Future Limits

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What are the greatest contributors to GHG Emissions?
The Transportation, Electricity Use, and Buildings sectors produce 90% of the state’s GHG pollution.  Gasoline and diesel fuel burned for road, rail, air, and marine transportation released 39% of the Commonwealth’s GHG pollution.  The fuel used to heat commercial buildings and homes and for industrial processes released 30%.  The coal, natural gas, and oil used to generate electricity emitted 21%, and the remaining 10% came from sources including agriculture, waste, wastewater, landfill gas, and highly warming chemicals for refrigeration, semiconductor manufacturing, and industrial processes.  Text version of the above graph pdf format of GHG Emissions by Sector
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Big Trends Greenhouse Gas Emissions by Sector (1990-2012)
Emissions are flattening and beginning to decline in some sectors. Massachusetts is seeing a slowdown in GHG emissions from a combination of factors including reduced electricity consumption (for lighting, heating and industrial processes) and reduced fuel use (due to energy efficiency in residential and commercial buildings). For many years, transportation was the sector that has GHG emissions growing steadily.  Transportation emissions have begun to level out and starting to decline.  Text version of the above graph pdf format of MA GHG Emissions and (BAU) Projections for Major Sector
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Largest Greenhouse Gas Sources in Massachusetts
Largest Greenhouse Gas Sources in Massachusetts

Source: Facility submittals to MassDEP all summarized at http://www.mass.gov/eea/docs/dep/air/climate/12facghg.pdf pdf format of MassDEP GHG Reporting Program Summary Report: 2012

Electricity and waste to energy facilities are the largest single emission sources. In Massachusetts, and across the northeast, the larger power plants are regulated under the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). Since RGGI was enacted, electric sector GHGs have declined about 30% and wholesale electric prices are down by 40-50%. The decline was principally caused by reduced generation from oil and coal, and increased generation from natural gas, renewables, and nuclear, as well as by energy efficiency. Text version of the above graphic pdf format of Largest GHG Sources in Massachusetts
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Massachusetts Electric Power Sector Fuel Use

From 1990 to 2011, the electric grid operator indicates total Massachusetts electric consumption increased by 22%; however, associated emissions dropped 37% because higher carbon fuels like coal and oil are being replaced with cleaner fuels like natural gas and renewable sources. This shift can be attributed to successes of the renewable energy requirements, the regional cap-and-trade system (RGGI), air quality regulations and the recent natural gas boom in the United States. Text version of the above graph pdf format of Ma Electric Power Sector Fuel Use (1990-2011)
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Energy Efficiency Benefits Are Growing Over Time

Massachusetts is saving energy every year with new energy efficiency investments and programs as the state continues to embrace efficiency as our state’s “First Fuel.” These diverse programs saved enough electricity to power 109,707 homes for a year and enough natural gas to heat 15,000 homes for a year. Energy efficiency reduced greenhouse gas emissions by more than 431,000 metric tons — the equivalent of taking 84,681 cars off our roads for a whole year. For every one dollar invested in efficiency, the average benefit was $4.17 for homeowners and $5.10 for businesses.  Text version of the above graph pdf format of Energy Efficiency Savings by Fuel Type
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Massachusetts Renewable Energy Net Generation is Rising
Renewable energy is considered by many to be the best option to replace carbon rich energy sources. This graph illustrates total renewable energy generation since 2003 to comply with the Massachusetts Renewable Portfolio Standard. Most of this energy comes from wind and landfill gas. Solar remains small in 2012, but is growing rapidly. Text version of the above graph pdf format of Renewable Energy Generation In Massachusetts
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Travel on Massachusetts Highways Increases and Levels

Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) has been relatively stable since 2005 after growing for decades. The recession, high gas prices, better communications technology, changes in consumer transportation preference, and other factors have all contributed to this trend. VMT is rising again in 2012. Text version of the above graph pdf format of Vehicle Miles Traveled On Massachusetts Highways
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Transportation Sector Fuel Consumption
Ninety-three percent of the state’s transportation energy comes from petroleum, largely gasoline and diesel. The remaining 7% comes from blended ethanol. Electricity is starting to be used as a transportation fuel as electric vehicles (EVs) are for sale, but the amount of electricity used to power EVs is still a very small amount. Text version of the above graph pdf format of Transportation Sector Fuel Consumption
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State Mass Transit Ridership Slowly Rising
Providing high quality transit is one of the most effective existing strategies for reducing emissions from the transportation sector. As this chart demonstrates, the overwhelming majority of transit riders in the state use the MBTA. Transit ridership figures for the MBTA and the Regional Transportation Authorities have followed similar patterns of growth and decline over the past twenty years, with an overall upward trend. Text version of the above graph pdf format of Public Transit Ridership In Massachusetts
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Walk Score of Massachusetts Communities
Seventy-two of the 351 Massachusetts cities and towns are each ranked with a Walk Score.  Approximately 65% of these communities (representing 42% of the scored population) are “car-dependant.”  Less than 10% of these communities (representing 26% of the scored population) are “very walkable.”   If the Commonwealth’s Smart Growth, GreenDOT, Housing that Works, and other policies are effective in encouraging compact mixed-use growth, the population and community distribution may shift to higher scores over time.  This could be accomplished through more growth in existing urban centers and gradual changes to single use suburbs that enable walking and other alternatives to car travel. Text version of the above graph pdf format of Walk Score Distribution of 72 Massachusetts Communities
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Massachusetts is Producing More Clean Energy Jobs
Despite a tough economic environment nationally, the Commonwealth’s clean energy industry is growing rapidly.  Surveys by the Clean Energy Center shows that there was an additional increase of 11.8% in 2013 and that there are now a total of 79,994 employees working in clean energy throughout the Commonwealth.  Since 2011, Massachusetts clean energy employers have added more than 15,500 jobs, representing a 24% growth.  Clean energy continues to maintain its place as one of our Commonwealth’s marquee industries with 1.9% of the total Massachusetts work force. Text version of the above graph pdf format of Clean Energy Jobs In Massachusetts
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