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And the Three Biggest Carbon Dioxide Footprints Are Made By…

Coal Power Bumps Pennsylvania Carbon Dioxide Emissions Disporportionately
Coal Power Bumps Pennsylvania Carbon Dioxide Emissions Disporportionately

Taking a look at the Nation’s biggest emitters of carbon dioxide, we can see that we have a long way to go sweeping up our footprints.

According to the most recent data, it should really come as no surprise that the two most-populous States generate the most carbon dioxide, but the third might come as a shock, considering its size and population. First on the list comes Texas, with an estimated population of 26.4 million, who generated some 723 million tons of carbon dioxide in 2011. That rounds out to about 27.4 tons per person. Texas’ problem is twofold, the transportation sector, generating 28.0% of emissions. Coal power generation accounts for an additional 24.2%.

Second on the list is California, with an estimated population of 38.3 million people, whose carbon dioxide emissions topped 381.4 million tons in 2011, or just 52.8% of Texas’ emissions. Rounded out, that’s just 10.0 tons of carbon dioxide per person. Thanks to the installation of thousands of mega-watt-hours of solar power production, and reliance on wind, hydro, and nuclear, California’s carbon dioxide emissions related to power production are minimal, but the transportation sector proves to be the biggest problem, generating some 218.3 million tons, only just slightly lower than the next State on our list.

Pennsylvania, with a population of about 12.8 million, is the sixth-most-populous State in the Union, yet comes in third place in the size of its carbon dioxide emissions. In 2011, Pennsylvania generated some 259.0 million tons of carbon dioxide. At about 20.2 tons per person. That’s 202% more than generated by California residents, and just 26.2% shy of that generated by Texas residents. Again, coal power generation is a major contributor to the State’s carbon dioxide emissions, at 107.0 million tons, 41.3% of total emissions.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, two-thirds of US carbon dioxide emissions are generated by the transportation and power-generation sectors. So we know where we need to be focusing, and it isn’t on subsidizing fossil fuels.

Photo credit: road_less_trvled Foter CC BY-NC

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