The Political Map of 2016 Looks Like the Carbon Emissions Map of 2016

There's a trend here.

January 1, 2017, 7:00 AM PST

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


Climate CHange

Ryan Rodrick Beiler / Shutterstock

An article by Ronald Brownstein traces the connection between the 2016 political election and carbon emissions. It shouldn't be surprising that their would be a connection between the two, energy and environmental has always been a partisan issue and recently, "Trump has indelibly endorsed the fear that reducing carbon emissions to combat the destabilizing threat of global climate change will undermine economic growth," writes Brownstein.

To counter those fears, Brownstein references Brookings Institution research showing that "since 2000 the United States increased its economic output by 30 percent while reducing carbon emissions by 10 percent." Brownstein takes the next logical step and finds that some states, like Oklahoma and Texas, are still emitting a lot more than others. What's more, "that energy divide now almost perfectly tracks the current political divide."

Comparing the latest federal figures on states’ per capita carbon emissions with the 2016 election results produces a clear pattern. Trump carried all of the 22 states with the most per capita carbon emissions, except for New Mexico, and 27 of the top 32 in all. (Colorado, Illinois, Delaware, and Minnesota were the Clinton-voting exceptions.) The Democratic nominee won 15 of the 18 states with the lowest per capita emissions—with the exception of Florida, North Carolina, and Idaho.

Brownstein adds some demographic and cultural factors to this understanding to determine a very challenging road ahead for the Democrats to recover some of their lost political power ahead of the 2020 presidential election—even if the Trump Administration can do nothing to stem the decline of the carbon economy.

Thursday, December 15, 2016 in The Atlantic

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