FILE - CT traffic 5-31-2007

Cars jam up on a stretch of Interstate 95 in New Haven, Connecticut, during rush hour May 31, 2007.

(The Center Square) – Connecticut is lagging in meeting greenhouse gas emissions targets statewide, officials from the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection said.

In a news release, the department issued its 2018 Connecticut Greenhouse Gas Emissions inventory, which shows the state is falling behind targets set by the General Assembly for greenhouse gas emissions.

The report said greenhouse gas emissions from vehicle exhaust and building heating and cooling emissions are increasing, and significant reductions are necessary to meet the 2030 and 2050 Greenhouse Gas Emissions targets.

“This report demonstrates that there is urgent work to be done for Connecticut to reduce our share of the greenhouse gas emissions that are accelerating climate change,” said DEEP Commissioner Katie Dykes in the release. “Taking action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions will not only help to mitigate the harm and the costs to future generations, but it will also deliver immediate benefits to Connecticut communities today, in terms of cleaner air, better health, more affordable transportation, growing jobs, strengthened infrastructure, and better quality of life.”

The 2018 report provides an overview of emissions for 2018, which is the most recent year data is available, and highlights trends since 1990.

The state emitted 42.2 million metric tons of carbon dioxide in 2018, according to the report, and falls 7.3% below emissions from 1990 and nearly 18% below 2001 emissions. Currently, the report reads, the state is 2.9% higher than the 2020 emissions target.

The organization said in its report that while fuel economy has improved for vehicles, the amount of travel has increase at a quicker pace, which in turn is escalating transportation emissions.

The 2018 report indicated the state needs to reduce emission by nearly one-third in order to meet the 2030 emissions target.

Weather, the report said, has led to an increase in emissions from buildings from heating and cooling needs, and a 34% reduction in emissions is needed to meet the 2030 target.

Gov. Ned Lamont said in a tweet the state needs to “take action now” on greenhouse emissions.

DEEP championed results in the electricity sector as emissions have dropped 32% since 1990 and 35% since 2001, according to the release. The department said the drop was due to increased efficiency “in businesses and homes and, especially, a continuing regional shift” from fossil fuels to natural gas and zero-carbon renewables.

DEEP in its report said, “The results found in this inventory make clear that significantly reducing transportation emission – and meeting the state’s overall emission goals – will require not only strategies to further improve fuel economy, especially by boosting adoption of zero-emission vehicles, but also strategies to reduce vehicle miles traveled.”

State Sen. Christine Cohen, D-Guilford, said in a tweet the report should be a "wake-up call."

The department said in the release “not taking action to accelerate emission reductions are dire” and “climate change will have substantial impacts on Connecticut, some of which are already being experienced.”

“As the latest U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report reaffirmed, we cannot wait to act. The harmful impacts of climate change are here, now, and increasing,” Dykes said in the release. “It is not too late to avoid the worst case. We must rapidly reduce emissions now to mitigate the harm and the costs to future generations.”

Associate Editor

Brent Addleman is an Associate Editor and a veteran journalist with more than 25 years of experience. He has served as editor of newspapers in Pennsylvania and Texas, and has also worked at newspapers in Delaware, Maryland, New York, and Kentucky.