Sunday, June 08, 2008

Carbon Emissions

The Brookings Institution recently conducted a study that examined the per capita carbon footprint of major metropolitan areas in the United States. I was a little surprised by the results, especially where my city of Fresno placed. The study looked specifically at transportation and residential uses of energy and the carbon emissions from those uses.

The results are here, and you can see that 6 of the top 12 cities for low per capital carbon emissions are from California. This isn't a huge surprise for places like San Francisco and San Jose, because they much more densely populated than other places in the top 12 like Los Angeles #2!!! San Diego #10 and Sacramento #12. Fresno was much higher than I imagined at #22 in the country. A little further investigation shows that one of the big reasons for this is the difference in transportation and residential sources of carbon emissions. Fresno is all the way down to #71 in transportation (not a big surprise there) and much higher up in residential #6. As a visual person, I found the geographic representations quite helpful and informative.

Of course, this takes into account sources of electricity and also usage. If you get a lot of your energy from renewable and carbon-free sources you will have a much lower per capita usage and a much higher rank. Fresno gets hot though in the summer, along with places like El Paso, TX, Tucson, AZ and Phoenix, AZ which are all in the top 20 of residential usage. I know a lot of people here in Fresno use their Air Conditioning almost non-stop in the hot summer.

Click on the link for the results above and check them out for yourself. I think ranking and measuring is a great way to help people/cities/areas compare themselves to others and ultimately can be very useful for improving. Hopefully studies like this can help.

(Via WorldChanging)

PS - This is the 100th post at JukeyBlog!

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