Right In the Thick of the Carbon

SciAm on a (depressing) report ranking the top 100 U.S. metropolitan areas in terms of amount of carbon emissions. The part that really startled me (emphasis added):

The residents of Lexington, Ky., Indianapolis and Cincinnati emit the most greenhouse gases—nearly 2.5 times as much carbon on a per capita basis as their peers at the top of the list with smaller footprints. But these cities have the added burden of being major regional transportation hubs; in other words, their per capita emissions burden is skewed upward by the freight needs of the rest of the country, according to senior research analyst Andrea Sarzynski at Brookings (based in Washington, D.C., ranked 89th).

Rounding out the bottom 10 biggest emitters per capita are: Knoxville, Tenn., Harrisburg, Pa., Oklahoma City, St. Louis, Nashville, Louisville, Ky., and Toledo, Ohio.

No.s 4 and 8, here in TN. One of my first thoughts on what these cities might have in common is that they are all widespread cities in which cars are the dominant means of transportation (that is: almost no bikes, walking, mass transit, etc.) – not that this is by any means uncommon in the U.S. Perhaps this is the silver lining around $4/gal. gasoline?

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