The cover page of the 2024 North Carolina Greenhouse Gas Inventory.

DEQ produces a statewide inventory of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that represents North Carolina’s “carbon footprint.” The 2024 update to the GHG inventory provides a high-level perspective of GHG emissions resulting from human activity and contains a detailed accounting of GHGs emitted or removed by key source categories from 1990 through 2020. The update also projects North Carolina’s GHG emissions from 2021 to 2050 based on forecasted changes in fuel use, population, historical trends, and other factors.

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Key takeaways in the 2024 inventory:

  • Between 2005 and 2020, North Carolina reduced gross GHG emissions by approximately 28% and net GHG emissions (which accounts for all carbon sequestered in the state) by 38%. During this same time, population and real Gross State Product grew by 20% and 23%, respectively.  
  • The largest contributor to the state’s carbon footprint continues to be the transportation sector, which in 2020 accounted for 36% of the state’s gross emissions. Emissions from the electricity generation and use sector are nearly half of what they were in 2005 and represent the largest GHG emission declines in the inventory. 
  • By 2050, North Carolina is projected to see a 48% and 64% decrease in gross and net GHG emissions, respectively, relative to 2005 emissions. 
  • Forests, natural lands, and agricultural lands sequestered an estimated 34% of the state’s gross GHG emissions in 2020, a much higher amount that reported previously. 

The inventory can be used by environmental planners and energy policymakers in our State to understand past, current, and expected future GHG emissions in North Carolina. It can also be used as a baseline to evaluate and develop GHG mitigation options for our State and predict their effect on reducing emissions in future years.

Additional Information

Tab/Accordion Items

The North Carolina GHG inventory estimates emissions of the six primary anthropogenic GHG pollutants listed below.

  • Carbon Dioxide (CO2)
  • Methane (CH4)
  • Nitrous Oxide (N2O)
  • Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs)
  • Perfluorocarbons (PFCs)
  • Sulfur Hexafluoride (SF6)

 Emission Activities by Sector

Emission Sector Emission Activity 
Electricity Generation & Use Fossil fuel combustion from coal, natural gas, and petroleum products, and imported electricity use
Residential (Home), Commercial, and Industrial Combustion Stationary sources which combust coal, natural gas, petroleum products, and wood
Transportation Emissions from gasoline highway, non-highway, diesel highway, and alternative fuel vehicles
Agriculture Emissions from enteric fermentation, manure management, agricultural residue burning, and agricultural soils management
Waste Management Emissions from municipal solid waste and wastewater operations
Industrial Processes

Emissions from industrial operations including:

  • Ozone-depleting substances (ODS) substitutes
  • Phosphoric acid production
  • Iron and steel production
  • Electric power transmission and distribution
  • Semiconductor manufacturing
  • Soda ash
  • Limestone and dolomite use
  • Urea consumption
  • Aluminum production
Natural Gas and Oil Systems Fugitive emissions from natural gas transmission and distribution
Net Carbon Sinks
  • Sequestration of CO2 through carbon flux from forest management, agricultural soils, landfilled yard trimmings, and food waste
  • Emissions from liming, urea fertilization, forest fires, and settlement soils

2022 Greenhouse Gas Inventory

Executive Summary
Quick Facts

2019 Greenhouse Gas Inventory

Executive Summary
Quick Facts

For more information, please contact:
Andy Bollman
Division of Air Quality

For media inquiries, please contact: 
Shawn Taylor