Greenhouse Gas Emissions Report
The Green Energy Committee conducted an inventory of total CO2e emissions in Lincoln to enable us to understand, communicate, and track our progress toward eliminating them. We commissioned James Booth to prepare this “Lincoln Greenhouse Gas Emissions Report.” James serves on the Belmont Energy Committee, for which he prepared a carbon inventory for the Town of Belmont, co-wrote a plan (Belmont Climate Action Roadmap) to achieve the town’s emissions reduction goals and works on analysis of the town’s municipal emissions. He is an educator with a background in research in cell biology, served on the faculty of the University of Toronto, and has a Ph.D. in Biophysics from Harvard University.
The report provides an assessment of greenhouse gas emissions for the town of Lincoln for the year 2017. Three sectors are considered: transportation (46% of total emissions), stationary energy (52%) and waste (2%). Total emissions for 2017 were estimated to be approximately 61,000 metric tons of CO2 equivalent (CO2e).
Vehicles : Use of vehicles accounted for about 34% of total emissions. The number of vehicles in Lincoln has stayed constant in recent years while the average emissions per vehicle have declined slightly due to a decrease in miles driven per vehicle and an improvement in vehicle fuel efficiency.
Air travel : Based on the income distribution of Lincoln households, it was estimated that on average adults in Lincoln take 2.7 personal trips by air per year, leading to an estimate for emissions of ~ 7000 tons CO2e (11% of total emissions).
Stationary Energy :
Natural Gas : Emissions from combustion of natural gas in Lincoln accounted for 20% of emissions. Release of unburned methane from the distribution system through gas leaks was estimated to account for an additional 6% of total CO2e emissions, based on an estimated leakage rate for the greater Boston area and using a 100-year global warming potential (GWP) for methane.
Electricity : Electricity use accounted for 18% of emissions, based on the current carbon intensity of the New England electric grid. An additional 1% of emissions results from electricity system losses.
Opportunities for emissions reductions:
Electrification coupled with a transition to carbon-free electricity is a key strategy to enable deep emissions reductions. The largest opportunities for reductions lie in the choices made when residents replace vehicles and heating systems; adoption of electric vehicles and heat pumps offers the potential for large immediate reductions in emissions and provides a pathway to zero emissions. Community Choice Aggregation would allow Lincoln to choose carbon-free electricity , reducing emissions from current sources of electricity use and those arising from further electrification of transportation and heating. Opportunities for emissions reductions are discussed in more detail in Section 4 of the report.