Three Least Populace States Emit Most Co2 Per Capita
|Source: Estimates of Annual Fossil-Fuel CO2 Emitted for Each State in the U.S.A. and the District of Columbia for Each Year from 1960 through 2001|
Among the first citizen journalism smack downs I thought I’d throw out there is in relation to Co2. I was planning to just regurgitate what’s been repeated again and again about the contribution that Co2 has in producing a green house effect, maybe even toss in some pretty stolen pictographs showing the process and about how Co2 is among a group of greenhouse gases (the big contributors being water vapor, methane, nitrous oxide, and ozone) that produce warming effects on the planet.
I wanted to start there to just acknowledge the fact that I am one of those socialist red eyed crazy tree hugging bleeding heart liberal conspirators who believe in climate change (as if it isn’t clear enough from my first post) and who believe human being activity plays a large part in emitting greenhouse gases that contribute to the changes we’re experiencing in the climate and environment.
Now, that doesn’t mean I’m gonna get all pop-a-cap in your ass about so called climate deniers or the skeptics – especially in Alaska. On the contrary, those are they very people I’d like to take for a beer and really pick their brains about convictions and facts and politics and a whole host of other things. Just because I think their stance is untenable doesn’t mean I won’t or shouldn’t engage in discussion and debate – if I had contrarian views I’d want to be afforded the same respect.
But, instead of just word vomiting stuff I’ve read plenty of times about the process of climate change and Co2 in particular, I thought I’d do something a bit different (see Pretty Graph above and the ones below).
Accidental Squiggly Lines
As often happens with my genius ideas, the very scholarly looking graph above was an accident on my part and the whole premise behind me writing this post turns out not to be that original anyway [See Texas, Wyoming lead in emissions (Jun. 2007)]. So, I am contributing to a discussion probably about 7 years too late.
What at first I was interested in is just seeing what Alaska’s Co2 emissions were. You can look at that one liner below or here.
Then I realized that I had no freaking idea what that upward looking mountain slope actually meant. So, I threw in a few other states at random (Texas, California, and Iowa) just for giggles – see it below or here.
Badda bing baby! Suck it Texas! This graph pretty much proved to me that Alaska had its shit together in keeping its emissions down. Then it occurred to me that states like Texas and California are about ten billion times [estimated guess] bigger population wise, so I’d need another graph that showed how much each person in a given state emits – turns out it involves division and is called per capita. Who knew, right? See it below or here.
Good feelings gone. Perhaps some of you following this epic graph journey have known this for years and are whispering under your breath that I’m an idiot, which I guess ain’t too far from the mark. But this per capita shit threw me for a loop. Turns out someone much smarter than me already did the leg work on the whole per capita expedition I conducted and that chart also struck me as quite odd. See part of it below or the full one here.
Does anyone else here note that the top three emitters per capita are among the three lest populated states in the U.S.? Yeah, I jotted that down too. Then there is the fact that while poking around the internet to write this post I found this: “Why Do State Emissions Differ So Widely?” Economics For Equity & Environment (2010). Their more recent data and analysis puts Alaska as the top U.S. state emitter in their much uglier graph. See below or Page 5 of their report.
Slippery Data Fish
There are of course legitimate reasons that are beyond the immediate control of your good Wyomingite, North Dakotan and Alaskan. Part of it undoubtedly deals with some margin of error in data collection and its subsequent analysis, but there are other reasons too.
Alaska, for example, is a huge state with a massive amount of communities not connected by a road system, meaning more frequent flyer miles. Wyoming has had consistently lower prices for gasoline and relies heavily on coal burning electricity plants to supply much of its energy (some of which gets shipped on over to California, those freeloaders). North Dakota too is tied deeply with coal based electricity.
Other factors that must be mulled over as well are differences in weather patters (colder means more heating fuel burned, hotter means more electricity spent on air conditioners). Considerations over dominant industries (and their interests) in a state, I think, should be considered as well. Public transportation availability and reliability are another factor. If I spent enough time misspelling Google searches and haphazardly tripping around the intertubes [sic] I’m sure I could list off another ten or fifteen, maybe twenty factors that produce Co2 variability per capita between U.S. states.
But, I guess it’s time to start wrapping this post up and getting peoples’ panties all wedge up in their nether regions.
Now, I am not going to pretend what I suggest here is going to be original or that some how I’m deluded into thinking that making these decisions or moving forward with any of these possibilities is going to stop climate change or have us all cough butterflies and shit buttermilk – clearly the trajectory we are on regarding greenhouse gas emissions is shooting past that target. This is mostly about mitigation for my daughter’s future. Hell, my future.
Also, to continue down another excruciating expositional long winded macabre – I am going to mention the words taxes and price increases in my suggestions. Those folks who believe climate change caused by humans is a hoax, this won’t matter much because you’ve already skipped to the comment section to either curse at my imbecility, are currently madly punching your keys creating a tirade of examples of how I’ve been brain washed by the liberal media, or you’ve already gone traipsing off to another corner of the web.
My tea party government bashing friends, well, you’re heads will explode in frustration – I do apologize. There will also be the pocket of people that will point out my job killing America bashing agenda – I welcome a discussion and debate. There is also my own naggaling [sic] about the fact that there are millions of people in this country and thousands in Alaska who are already struggling to stay afloat, any contemplation of a new tax or price hike will undoubtedly piss you off – we have to figure something out.
Top most unremarkable (and some slightly insane) things we could try:
- Tax & Give & Innovate & Invest: My cap & trade knowledge is pretty marginal at best and what exactly was included in the Carbon Tax proposals of late, I couldn’t really tell you. Though it seems to make a bit of sense to tax or putting a price tag on those commodities that contribute to Co2, for example:
- Juneau or any number of cities in Alaska could tax a bit here and there on gasoline, electricity and other high commodity items that involve emission of Co2 and then specifically set those funds aside to hold a lottery where a fleet of hybrid cars or fuel efficient heating systems or any number of more energy efficient appliance like refrigerators or hot water tanks are given out to residents. It’s not going to make a whole hell of a lot of difference, but give it ten years.I know this idea sounds insane and it is. But just think, a new car!
- If you’re not so much into the idea of local or state governments taxing folks to hold essentially a form of gambling event like a lottery (perhaps you’re not a godless liberal leecher like me) and are more business like in your approach:
- Take those taxes I mentioned in that ridiculous idea above and set them aside to make a more efficient and robust public transportation system.
- If the Alaska State government feels fine and dandy with investing $5.75 billion (Jan. 2013) with Exxon to build a natural gas pipeline, why can’t Juneau or any number of Alaskan cities and towns invest with their own electricity utilities to help finance efficiency efforts in production and delivery? Or at least, in Juneau, finance AEL&P’s adoption of an updated radio jingle. That one doesn’t sound too insane.
- If you’re one of those free market fisters [sic], how about setting those tax dollars aside to prepare for adaptation and response to what will be brought by climate fluctuations? For example, relocating folks in western Alaskan communities, financing reforestation efforts in swaths of the Kenai Peninsula and other parts of the state that will face more drastic wild fire events, prepping for the fishing industries likely changes where expectations are for salmon runs and other species to move further north, and a bucket load of other adaptation and response preparations I’m too ignorant about.
- Monkey with Puny Policy: Alright, maybe taxes just aren’t your thing and when someone brings it up you die a little – I get it, I’m a cheap bastard too. What about dinking [sic] around with local and state policies?
- Let’s face it, most of us suck at remembering to bring those reusable Safeway and Fred Meyer bags. I’ve got about seven of’em sitting under the kitchen sink and in the car, empty and dejected. Why not make the purchasing of plastic bag actually a purchase of a plastic bag? Right now our retailers and grocers just sorta work that into our shopping experience, hell one guy at Safeway in town would probably double bag a box of condoms and a pack of cigarettes. Why not put the bags in front of the counter and if you need one you put it on the belt and its scanned with that awful beeping sound that singles the departure of your hard earned cash. Great thing about this idea? I totally stole it from Latvia, so it’s not like reinventing the wheel or moving mountains.
- How about state and local government (and private!) give a little perk for those employees who take public transportation or bike and walk to and from work? Say, a little extra deposit into their retirement accounts? Boosted accumulation of time off? A $500 dollar Christmas bonus?
- How about the building permit offices provide some fat incentives to home owners, builders and contractors to build more energy efficient homes and install the most efficient doors, windows and appliances?
- What about re-examining zoning and building practices for the Juneau community and around the state to think about more centralized hubs for shopping, going to school, and going to work? Okay this one is not a puny policy issue, but by revisiting the American city and town tendency to just spread themselves out over considerable distances may be work looking into.
We’ll there it is and there it went. Now, on to winning that new car and reinvent my whining leftist ways.