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Nevada’s recent greenhouse gas report predicts the state will miss its future emission goals

Pie graphs that look at Nevada’s past and projected greenhouse gasses. In 2005, electricity generation made up 47% of all greenhouse gasses. Transportation was 30%, industry 9%, residential and commercial 7%, agriculture 4%, and waste 3%. By 2030, Electricity Generation will make up 24% of all greenhouse gasses. Transportation will be 34%, industry 19%, residential and commercial 13%, agriculture 4%, and waste 6%.
Nevada Division of Environmental Protection
Nevada’s gross greenhouse gas emissions by sector from the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection 2021 report “Nevada Statewide Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory and Projections, 1990-2041.”

Earlier this year, the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection released a report that takes a look at how the state is faring in cutting down on greenhouse gasses released in the state. At its current trajectory, Nevada will miss its goals by the year 2030. KUNR’s Gustavo Sagrero spoke to Sig Jaunarajs, who works for the division’s Bureau of Air Quality Planning, to learn more.

GUSTAVO SAGRERO: So the recent report found that Nevada will miss its greenhouse gas emission goals in 2030 by 21%. That’s up from last year’s report of 18%. Why do you think Nevada is missing its targets?

SIG JAUNARAJS: We just have not done enough to reduce statewide emissions. I mean, we have made progress. But those goals are very ambitious.

SAGRERO: What kind of solutions is the state looking to to address Nevada missing its greenhouse gasses goals?

JAUNARAJS: Well, we just passed Clean Cars Nevada, that’s a program that was approved by the state environmental commission. And that will require manufacturers to sell in the state fleet-wide groups of cars that reduce, have lower greenhouse gas emissions, as well as requiring the sales of more zero-emission vehicles — electric vehicles. So that’s a start, but it’s very incremental. That gets rolled out very slowly. There’s more that we could do with electrical generation in terms of moving away from fossil fuels towards renewable fuels. There are other sectors where we can make progress. Industrial sector, the municipal solid waste sector, and so on.

SAGRERO: What does industry mean within the context of the report? I was looking at that, and I noticed that … it seemed a little abstract in a way.

JAUNARAJS: So industrial emissions are really comprised of three different elements. So they are first of all emissions produced by industry when industry burns a fuel for some process. Say they have a furnace or a boiler or an autoclave that they heat. They’re burning fossil fuels.

Secondly, there are industrial process emissions. So if a company is making a product, sometimes there’s a chemical reaction that occurs that releases greenhouse gasses. So a good example would be the cement and lime industry. When they produce cement, it releases CO2.

And then the third aspect of the industrial emissions would be the oil and gas sector. We have a very small oil and gas industry in Nevada. But methane is often released in the production of oil and gas. And then we have natural gas pipelines across the state that leak.

SAGRERO: I’ve been hearing a lot about meeting with Indigenous communities to further climate action, but will Nevada work in some capacity with Indigenous nations in efforts to meet these goals?

JAUNARAJS: Well, I know that we have a statewide coordinator, a liaison for all the tribal nations within the state. And we keep the tribes apprised of any developments that we have in terms of policy. We’re certainly willing to work with the tribal nations and anyone in the state in looking at ways to reduce emissions.

Gustavo Sagrero is a former bilingual reporter at KUNR Public Radio.
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