Monday, June 04, 2007

Texas Tops Nation in Greenhouse Gas Emissions

A recent analysis of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. reveal some surprising numbers. States vary dramatically in their level of emissions. The best predictor of greenhouse gas emissions is a state's use of high-carbon coal to produce electricity.

Some of the trends are predictable. More populous states, for example, emit more gases on average than less populous ones.

And to anyone with even a remote interest in the debate on global warming, it will hardly come as a surprise that Texas tops the nation in emissions of CO2. (And for once, Mississippi isn't even close.) Some of Texas' contribution can be explained by the number of energy-intensive refineries in the state. An analysis of the numbers, though, paints a pretty stark contrast.
Texas, the leader in emitting this greenhouse gas, cranks out more than the next two biggest producers combined, California and Pennsylvania, which together have twice Texas' population.
It's clear that states vary widely, not only in their level of emissions, but in their commitment to reducing them. In fact, with few exceptions, the states producing the most greenhouse gases are the ones doing the least to control them.

On a per person basis, sparsely populated Wyoming tops the list, with 276,000 pounds per person per year. With a little over half a million people, Wyoming is the least populous state in the union, but as the number one coal producer in the nation, it generates virtually all of its electricity from burning coal.

Just next door to the west, Idaho emits the least carbon dioxide per person, less than 23,000 pounds a year. Idaho forbids coal power plants. It relies mostly on nonpolluting hydroelectric power.

Texas, where coal barely edges out natural gas as the top power source, belches more than 1 trillion pounds of carbon dioxide yearly.

The top 10 ranked by total carbon dioxide emissions (in millions of metric tons) in 2003.
The top 10
1. Texas (670)
2. California (389)
3. Pennsylvania (271)
4. Ohio (266)
5. Florida (244)
6. Indiana (235)
7. Illinois (230)
8. New York (214)
9. Michigan (185)
10. Louisiana (179)

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