California Greenhouse Gas Emissions Fall–But Not by Much

Despite California’s many efforts to fight global warming, the state’s greenhouse gas emissions rose in 2012, as a nuclear power plant shut down and the drought hit hydroelectric dams hard.

But the increase, it turns out, didn’t last.

Data released by the state on Tuesday show that California’s emissions of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases started falling again in 2013. The drop wasn’t much, just 0.3 percent. The state’s economy still pumped almost 460 million metric tons of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, according to the California Air Resources Board.

But considering the circumstances, state officials still consider that a success.

The California economy grew 2 percent in 2013. At the same time, the deepening drought continued to cut the output of hydroelectric dams, forcing utilities to rely more on power plants burning natural gas. And the owners of the San Onofre nuclear plant north of San Diego decided to close the plant for good. All of those factors could have pushed greenhouse gas emissions higher.

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