Government Data Says Nationwide, CO2 Emissions Have Declined Slightly Over Last Decade

by Erica Peterson on January 16, 2012

The federal government has released data showing the country’s carbon dioxide emissions for the past decade.

The report released by the U.S. Energy Information Administration analyzes carbon dioxide emissions from 2000-2009. Over that time period, emissions decreased in most states, including Kentucky and Indiana.

EIA Industry Economist Perry Lindstrom says there were three factors at work that helped contribute to that drop.

“So in 2009 in particular, you had kind of those three things going on at the same time,” he said. “You had the drop in the economy, you had the drop in energy intensity, but also a drop in carbon intensity.”

There’s a drop in energy intensity because the country’s economy is turning toward producing goods that don’t require as much energy—like technology over steel. And at the same time, the amount of energy produced by carbon-intensive fuels, like coal, is being replaced by sources like natural gas, which releases less carbon dioxide.

But Kentucky and Indiana, as well as other states largely dependent on coal, still produce high levels of carbon dioxide for each unit of energy.

Kentucky also made the list as one of the highest emitters of carbon dioxide per capita. Unlike other states that made that list, like West Virginia and Wyoming, the commonwealth isn’t a net exporter of electricity.

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