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U.S. reports mixed bag for CO2 emissions

State-level CO2 down, but trends muddied on the margins.

By Daniel J. Graeber
U.S. reports mixed bag for CO2 emissions
Federal U.S. report finds state-level emissions moving generally lower, though details less clear on the margins of the data.. Photo by Reinhard Tiburzy/Shutterstock

WASHINGTON, Nov. 24 (UPI) -- A federal report from the U.S. government found a diverse energy landscape meant emissions tied to energy use were down in nearly every state since 2005.

"The United States has a diverse energy landscape that is reflected in differences in state-level emissions profiles," a briefing from the U.S. Energy Information Administration said. "Since 2005, energy-related carbon dioxide emissions fell in 48 states, including the District of Columbia, and rose in three states, on a per capita basis."

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The U.S. government is supporting solar development through its SunShot initiative, which aims to make the renewable technology competitive. The program aims to move solar power capacity from less than 1 percent of the national electricity supply to 14 percent by 2030.

In February, energy consultant group Wood Mackenzie found solar power has evolved from a niche renewable sector to something that's pressuring conventional business models in the utility industry.

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The Department of Energy, meanwhile, found that wind energy is becoming a "mainstream power source," accounting for 31 percent of all new electricity capacity added to the U.S. grid between 2008 and last year.

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State use of energy resources is skewing trends on the national level, however. The EIA found emissions of CO2, a potent greenhouse gas, was steady from 2004-07, declined through 2012 and then started to gradually increase. Emissions from coal-powered plants have declined since 2008, though emissions tied to natural gas have moved up since then.

On a state-by-state basis, the 10 states with the highest levels of CO2 emissions tied to power, which are also the 10 states with the largest populations, accounted for half of the U.S. total emissions in 2013, the last full year for which data are available.

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