Which States Are Making the Most Progress on Emissions? Not the Ones You Think


According to a new report from the World Resources Institute, an international research organization, 41 states managed to cut their carbon emissions between 2005 and 2017, even as their economies grew. The states leading the charge might not be the ones you expect. To learn more, read Which States Are Making the Most Progress on Emissions?  Not the Ones You Think”.

Key Takeaways:

  • According to the report, Maryland cut emissions 38 percent 12 years and the Northeast region as a whole cut emissions by around 24 percent. In contrast, most Western states — including Washington and California — saw their carbon emissions rise or decrease only slightly over the entire period.
  • Devashree Saha, one of the authors of the report, said the Northeast quickly switched over to natural gas, which produces far less carbon dioxide than coal-fired power.
  • The Northeast is also the home of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, an interstate agreement that caps carbon emissions from power plants in Maryland, Maine, New York, and seven other member states in the region. According to a report from the nonprofit Acadia Center, the program has reduced power plant emissions by almost 47 percent since it started 10 years ago, far outpacing the rest of the country.

Path to 100% Perspective:

Authors indicate states such as California and Washington may appear to be lagging behind because their carbon intensity may have been low before the study period began. However, the improvement documented in the Northeast does indicate intentional regional efforts to reduce carbon emissions and increase renewable energy integration which is beneficial to others learning from their progress.


Photo: Grist