Feds: Almost three-quarters of states cut carbon emissions since 2000

Source: By The Washington Examiner • Posted: Thursday, October 29, 2015

Nearly three-quarters of the states reduced their carbon emissions between 2000-13, according to a federal report.

Thirty-seven states cut their emissions between 2000-13, according to an analysis of state-level carbon emissions by the Energy Information Administration, the independent analysis arm of the Department of Energy. The largest decrease came in Maine, which cut 27 percent.

Between 2012-13, 16 states saw a decrease in emissions and 34 saw an increase. Nationally, carbon emissions rose 2.5 percent between 2012-13. Many climate scientists blame greenhouse gas emissions from burning fossil fuels, such as oil and coal, for driving manmade global warming.

Texas, California and Pennsylvania were the three biggest carbon emitters in the country in 2013, according to the report. Three of the smallest states — Vermont, Rhode Island and Delaware — released the smallest amount of carbon emissions.

However, on a per capita basis, Wyoming, North Dakota and West Virginia residents release the most carbon emissions, the report said. New York, Vermont and California residents ranked the lowest.

The report says Wyoming’s high per capita carbon emissions can be traced to its low population density; just 600,000 people live in the state. In addition, it has very cold winters, which drive up energy use for heating homes.

New York’s low per capita carbon emissions can be chalked up to much of the population living in New York City, which has lots of public transportation. In addition, the city’s economy is based on low-energy sectors such as finance, the report states.

Wind energy generation is also growing rapidly in areas that had little to no wind generation in 2000. In 2000, the top four wind-producing states accounted for 93 percent of wind power. Thirteen years later, the top six states for wind energy only accounted for 56 percent of wind power production, the report said.

States such as Texas, Iowa and Oklahoma have drastically increased their wind production, and the Lone Star State has blown past California as the country’s top wind power state.

According to the report, Texas’ increase in wind power kept about 22 million tons of carbon emission from going into the atmosphere in 2013. For perspective, that’s about how much Vermont and New Hampshire put into the atmosphere combined that year.

As of 2013, California was the main state for solar energy, producing 36 percent of the country’s solar energy. Florida, Arizona and New Jersey are the other main producers of solar energy.