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CO2 Emissions Fall In 37 States From 2000–2013


By Marlena Chertock | Dec 15, 2015
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Energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions fell in 37 states between the years 2000–2013, according to an October report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). CO2 emissions rose in 13 states in the same time period. CO2 emissions vary greatly across states, including on an absolute and per capita basis.


Maine experienced the greatest emissions decrease, at 27 percent, or 6 million metric tons. New York saw the greatest absolute decline, at 25 percent, or 52 million metric tons. Nebraska was the state with both the greatest percentage and absolute increase in CO2 emissions, at 28 percent, or 11 million metric tons, according to the report.


CO2 emissions also fell in 16 states from 2012 to 2013. During the same time period, 34 states experienced an increase in emissions. Emissions for 2013 increased by about 2.5 percent nationally. There are different methods for data aggregation among states and the national total, so the EIA warns that it is difficult to compare the total emissions for all states with the U.S. total.


The EIA releases an annual report on energy-related emissions levels. The October report finds that a state’s total CO2 emissions are determined by its size, available fuels, types of businesses, climate and population density. Total state CO2 emissions include direct fuel use across sectors, including commercial, industrial, residential and transportation as well as primary fuels consumed for electric generation, according to the report. CO2 emissions also vary by sector, due to the use of different fuels for electricity generation, climate and other economic output.


Some states have hydroelectric supplies, while others have more coal resources, the report states. These types of supplies and resources affect a state’s energy system and emissions output. The EIA found that states have different emissions profiles based on fuel type. In 2013, coal consumption accounted for 78 percent of CO2 emissions in West Virginia, and, in California, 1 percent of CO2 emissions came from coal and 62 percent came from petroleum.


The EIA assigned all emissions related to primary energy consumed to the state where that electricity is produced, instead of where it’s consumed. So, states that produce electricity from fossil fuels and sell it across state lines can have higher per capita CO2 emissions than states that consume more electricity than they produce.


About The Author

Chertock is a poet and renewable energy and science journalist in the Washington, D.C., area. Contact her at [email protected].

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