Environment

Climate and Energy Progress Dashboard

Click through the Climate and Energy Progress Dashboard slides below to view a summary of progress on metrics adopted in the Regional Climate and Energy Action Plan. See the 2020 Regional Climate and Energy Action Plan and previous years’ Progress Reports for additional information.

Progress Towards Metropolitan Washington’s Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions Reduction Goals

Progress Towards Metropolitan Washington’s Greenhouse Gas (GHG)Emissions Reduction Goals

The regional GHG emissions reduction goals include 10% below business as usual by 2012 (back down to 2005 levels), 20% below the 2005 levels by 2020, and 80% below 2005 levels by 2050. The region met its first goal to stay below 2012 levels, despite a 15% growth in population between 2005 and 2012. An immense undertaking is needed to meet the 2020 and 2050 goals.

 

Progress Towards Reducing Regional Energy Consumption

Progress Towards Reducing Regional Energy Consumption

Energy consumption is the leading contributor to metropolitan Washington’s GHG emissions, accounting for 51% of total emissions as of 2012. Sustained continuous reductions in energy consumption will be a crucial component of meeting the region’s GHG emission reduction goals. Between 2005 and 2015, there has only been a 1% increase in total consumption, despite a 15% growth in population. In the same timeframe, energy intensity per capita has decreased 12%.

 

Progress Towards Increasing High Performance Buildings

Progress Towards Increasing High Performance Buildings

GHG emission reduction is supported by development that prioritizes energy efficiency. Buildings with a higher level of environmental performance are verified through programs such as LEED, ENERGY STAR, EarthCraft, and Passive House. The number these certified high performance buildings in the region total more than 3,500, with the potential to achieve 5,000 by 2020 if current growth rates continue.

Progress Towards Increasing Renewables as Percent of Total Energy Consumption

Progress Towards Increasing Renewables as Percent of Total Energy Consumption

Fossil fuels account for 60% of the fuel mix in the PJM territory. Switching to cleaner sources of energy will reduce the GHG emissions associated with the region’s energy consumption. As of 2015, 11% of regional energy consumption comes from renewables, with the potential to reach 20% by 2020. This equates to 6.7 million megawatt hours (MWHs) of renewables in 2015 and more than 12 million MWHs in 2020.

 

 

 

Progress Towards Increasing Grid-Connected Renewables

Progress Towards Increasing Grid-Connected Renewables

As of 2015, metropolitan Washington has 13,637 grid-connected solar and wind systems, with a total generating capacity of 132.2 megawatts (MW). Distributed renewable energy deployment has grown at a tremendous rate since 2010. If this rate of growth continues through 2020, the region could have 30,000 or more grid-connected renewables.

 

 

Progress Towards Reducing Transportation Sector GHG Emissions

Progress Towards Reducing Transportation Sector GHG Emissions

Mobile transportation is the second largest contributor to metropolitan Washington’s GHG emissions, accounting for 34% of total emissions. Transportation sector emissions have remained relatively flat since 2005, despite a 15% growth in population. Transportation GHG emissions are projected to drop by almost 9% between 2005 and 2020, down to 20.6 MMTCO2e, due to the improving fuel economy of vehicles and increasing alternative trip modes.

 

 

Progress Towards Increasing Electric Vehicle Ownership

Progress Towards Increasing Electric Vehicle Ownership

Passenger cars and trucks account for more than half of regional transportation section emissions. Improving fuel economy will help reduce GHG emissions from passenger cars and trucks. In 2014, the 100,689 electric vehicles in the region still only account for 2.8 percent of all light duty vehicles. By 2020, there is potential to increase ownership to 150,000.

Note: Electric vehicles in this figure include hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs), plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), and all electric vehicles (EVs).

 

Progress Towards Increasing Publicly Accessible Electric Vehicle Charging Stations

Progress Towards Increasing Publicly Accessible Electric Vehicle Charging Stations

Owners of plug-in and all electric vehicles need to be supported with a robust network of workplace and public charging stations. Publicly accessible charging stations have more than tripled since 2012 to 390 stations. There is potential for the region to have more than 1,000 stations by 2020. 

 

 

Progress Towards Reducing Vehicle Miles Travelled

Progress Towards Reducing Vehicle Miles Travelled

Personal vehicle use is the largest source of transportation sector GHG emissions in the region and vehicle miles travelled (VMT) is a leading indicator. The trend in VMT is projected to increase by 2020. Getting people out of their private vehicles and increasing the share of alternative trip modes is a challenge, but important to reducing VMT and the associated GHG emissions.

 

 

Progress Towards Increasing Growth Rates in Activity Centers

Progress Towards Increasing Growth Rates in Activity Centers

How and where land is developed influences GHG emissions from VMT, residential and commercial development, and energy use. Therefore, encouraging compact, mixed use, and transit-oriented growth in Activity Centers (priority growth areas) supports the region in meeting its GHG emission reduction goals. The growth rates in the region’s Activity Centers for population, household, and jobs are projected to increase through 2020. 

 

 

Progress Towards Increasing Regional Recycling Rate

Progress Towards Increasing Regional Recycling Rate

Zero waste is a visionary goal that calls for society to use fewer resources as well as increase resource recovery, recycling, and composting. The regional recycling rate, one indicator to track progress towards zero waste, has increased from 33% in 2005 to approximately 48% in 2014. Zero waste strategies reduce emissions, saves energy, and extends landfill capacity.

 

Projected Increases in Average Annual Temperature for Metropolitan Washington

Projected Increases in Average Annual Temperature for Metropolitan Washington

The region is experiencing the impacts of a changing climate. In metropolitan Washington, average annual temperature has risen 40 Fahrenheit over the last 100 years and is projected to continue to rise. Taking practical, common sense steps to address climate change impacts today is in the best interest of future generations.

Projected Increases in Sea Level Rise in Metropolitan Washington

Projected Increases in Sea Level Rise in Metropolitan Washington

The region is experiencing the impacts of a changing climate. In Washington DC, sea level rise (SLR) in the Potomac River has increased 10 inches over the last 80 years and is projected to continue to rise. Taking practical, common sense steps to address climate change impacts today is in the best interest of future generations.

Note: The figure above shows projected increases in SLR, including a high scenario in the case of rapid ice melt.

 

Progress Towards Reducing GHG Emissions While Increasing GDP

Progress Towards Reducing GHG Emissions While Increasing GDP

Increased energy efficiency, clean energy, and sustainable consumption strategies can support economic growth while reducing emissions. While the metropolitan Washington economy continues to grow, GHG emissions have remained relatively flat. This means the grid is becoming more efficient and clean. A concerted effort is still needed to further decouple economic growth from carbon emissions and meet the region’s goals to reduce GHG emissions 20% by 2020 and increase Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by at least 2% annually.