Greenhouse Gas Emissions

By January 2020, reduce annual statewide greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels.

Understanding the Goal and Its Data

In June 2014, the Department of Health (DOH) amended the Hawaiʻi Administrative Rules to regulate greenhouse gases (GHG). The rules were developed to implement GHG reduction goals of Hawaiʻi Act 234 (session laws of 2007) to ensure the state returns to 1990 GHG emission levels (13.66 million metric tons per year) by 2020. To track progress, new statewide GHG emission inventories are being compiled for 2015, 2016, and 2017 emissions year; statewide GHG projections are also being developed for 2020 and 2025. The GHG emission inventories will address the same sectors as those used to establish 1990 baseline emission levels. These sectors include: residential, commercial, industrial, transportation, power, waste, and agriculture and forestry. Currently, only data from large sources in the power sector have been evaluated to share on this dashboard (large sources are facilities emitting 25,000 metric tons of GHGs or more per year). The power sector represents a majority of the statewide greenhouse gas emissions from large stationary sources. Greenhouse gas emission regulations help support existing energy efficiency and renewable energy programs already in place to reduce GHGs. If data from tracking GHGs indicates the statewide emissions limit is met prior to 2020, a GHG emissions cap will not be required.

Note: One metric ton of CO2e is equivalent to the greenhouse gas emissions generated from driving 2,434 miles in an average car per year.

1990 Power Sector Comparison

Figure 1: The above chart shows CO2e emissions from large sources in the power sector from 2010-2016 in comparison to the 1990 power sector baseline GHG emissions level (line in red).

Source: EPA 2016 Greenhouse Gas Emissions for Large Facilities

Note: The 1990 baseline shows emissions from all sources evaluated in the power sector including large and small emitters. The data from 2010-2016 only shows emission totals from large stationary sources in the power sector emitting 25,000 metric tons of GHG or more per year.

GHG Emissions per Capita from the Power Sector

Figure 2: The above chart shows CO2e (GHG emissions) per person in Hawaiʻi from the power sector from 2010 - 2016 compared to the 1990 per person CO2 emissions baseline for the power sector.

Source: EPA and U.S. Census

Note: All per capita graphs use Hawaiʻi’s de facto population, which includes all residents, military personnel, and visitors in the state based on an average daily census (e.g. 1,257,319 de facto population in 1990; 1,583,139 de facto population in 2016.)

GHG Emissions by Sector for Stationary Sources in 2016

Figure 3: The above pie chart displays the total GHG emissions from large stationary sources by sector for 2016, the most recent EPA reporting period. Large stationary sources include refineries and electric power plants that stay in one place. This chart does not include emissions from cars, other vehicles or portable generators. The pie chart shows that the top GHG emitter for Hawaiʻi is the power sector representing 81% of the state’s GHG emissions from large facilities.

Source: EPA

Learn More and Make a Difference

What You Can Do to Reduce your Carbon Footprint

Carbon footprint is measured as the total greenhouse gas emissions produced by an organization or individual. To calculate your carbon footprint, check out the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Carbon Emissions Calculator:

The following actions can reduce your carbon footprint:

  • Use alternative means of transportation, such as carpooling, biking and riding the bus. Leaving your car at home just two days a week will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by an average of 1,600 pounds per year.
  • Under-inflated tires reduce your fuel economy and lead to increased emissions of greenhouse gases and air pollutants.
  • Plant trees and vegetation to serve as carbon sinks (which take CO2 out of the atmosphere). Reduce electricity usage by turning off lights and appliances and unplugging them when not in use. Even equipment that is off, but still plugged in, draws electricity.

More Information

  • The Clean Air Branch of the State of Hawaiʻi’s Department of Health has established a Greenhouse Gas Program to combat the threat of climate change and sea level rise. Learn more about the program, and Hawaiʻi’s GHG rules here:

  • The EPA provides publicly available data to track Hawaiʻi's large stationary source GHG emissions. To check out specific facility information, use its Greenhouse Gases Tool:

SDG 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy
Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all
SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
Reduce inequality within and among countries
SDG 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production
Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns
SDG 13 - Climate Action
Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts
SDG 17 - Partnerships for the Goals
Revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development