The Price Of Cheap Energy: High Carbon Emissions

A state's carbon emissions is largely correlated with the source of its electricity -- the more coal power, the larger the carbon footprint, and the lower the electric rates.

"The Associated Press analyzed state-by-state emissions of carbon dioxide from 2003, the latest U.S. Energy Department numbers available. The review shows startling differences in states' contribution to climate change.

The biggest reason? The burning of high-carbon coal to produce cheap electricity."

"Emissions from generating electricity account for the largest chunk of U.S. greenhouse gases, nearly 40 percent. Transportation emissions are close behind, contributing about one-third of U.S. production of carbon dioxide."

"Burning coal accounts for half of America's electricity. And coal produces more carbon dioxide than any other commonly used U.S. fuel source. The states that rely the most on coal - Wyoming, North Dakota, West Virginia, Indiana - generally produce the most carbon dioxide pollution per person, but also have the cheapest electric rates."

"On a per-person basis, Wyoming spews more carbon dioxide than any other state or any other country: 276,000 pounds of it per capita a year, thanks to burning coal, which provides nearly all of the state's electrical power.

Yet, 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 non-polluting hydroelectric power from its rivers.

Texas, where coal barely edges out cleaner natural gas as the top power source, belches almost 1 1/2 trillion pounds of carbon dioxide yearly. That's more than every nation in the world except six: the United States, China, Russia, Japan, India and Germany."

"The disparity in carbon dioxide emissions is one of the reasons there is no strong national effort to reduce global warming gases, some experts say."

Thanks to Anne Ehrlich

Full Story: Blame coal: Texas leads carbon emissions

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