Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions

As a foundational element of this Climate Action Plan, Howard County developed a new GHG emissions inventory, analyzed changes in current GHG emissions from its 2005 baseline, and estimated future GHG emissions through 2045. This information helped shape the strategies and actions proposed to mitigate GHG emissions and to sequester carbon.

Future GHGs

Business-as-Usual Scenario

Howard County anticipates that without additional action to reduce GHG emissions, the County’s emissions from all public and private sector sources will increase by 3% and 5% in 2030 and 2045, respectively, compared to 2019. This projected increase is primarily driven by changes in population. The County’s population is anticipated to grow by 13% between 2019 and 2045, which will result in increased energy use, vehicle miles traveled, and waste generation. During this time, there will also be a shift toward more renewable sources of grid electricity and increased use of electric vehicles, which offsets some of the increases in emissions due to population growth, so these changes have been factored into the projected emissions increases.

Future GHG Emissions Projections in Business-as-Usual Scenario Including Changes in Electricity Generation Mix
Summary Table of Howard County Mitigation Strategies

GHG Emissions Reductions

Mitigation Strategies

The vast majority of the GHG emissions reductions needed to meet the County’s 2045 net zero goal can be achieved through decarbonizing the grid, reducing energy use in buildings, increasing the adoption of electric vehicles, and reducing miles driven. With just these strategies, Howard County can expect to reduce emissions 44% over 2005 levels by 2030. In addition, these strategies can reduce emissions 70% over the Business as Usual (BAU) predictions by 2045.

Reductions from nature-based strategies were not quantified formally, but these strategies will still make an important contribution to lowering the County’s net greenhouse gas emissions, especially through carbon storage. In addition, these nature-based solutions also provide many co-benefits, including water quality improvement, flood reduction, pollinator habitat, and more.

What You Can Do

Learn More About Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Explore Your Household Carbon Footprint with the EPA Carbon Footprint Calculator
Dive deeper into greenhouse gas emissions reduction planning in Maryland
Learn more about Howard County’s commitments to lower GHG emissions and stem the causes of climate change.