State-By-State Carbon Dioxide Emissions from Fossil Fuel Use in the United States 1960–2000

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Abstract

Time series of fossil fuel carbon emissions from 1960–2000 for each of the U.S. states and the District of Columbia are presented and discussed. Comparison of the nationally summarized results with other national datasets shows generally good agreement, usually within 2%, and gives insight into the quality of all the data series. Our extension of the state-by-state emissions estimates back to 1960 reveals patterns of change that are coherent across states and can be related to historic events such as energy crises and federal legislation. Most notable is the changing pattern of coal usage, as coal-producing states produce increasingly more energy (mostly for electricity) for other states so that per capita CO2 emissions diverge for states that import as opposed to those that export electricity. The decline in carbon emissions from petroleum products following the 1970s is also evident. Per capita emissions range over an order of magnitude for the different states. The data suggest that differences in per capita emissions arise from differences in many technological, physical, resource, social, and economic factors. The data presented here and the few correlations briefly noted pose a challenge for trying to use per capita emissions as a measure of equity or to provide mitigation targets.