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?

By Jason Coleman

Structural engineer and technical content manager Bentley Systems by day. Geeky father and husband all the rest of time.

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