• The Financial District


Rich Americans produce nearly 25% more heat-trapping gases than poorer people at home, according to a comprehensive study of US residential carbon footprints, Seth Borenstein reported for the Associated Press (AP) on July 21, 2020.

Scientists studied 93 million housing units in the nation to analyze how much greenhouse gases are being spewed in different locations and by income, according to a study led by Benjamin Goldstein of the University of Michigan and published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS.) Residential carbon emissions comprise close to 20% of global warming gases emitted by the burning of coal, oil and natural gas.

Using federal definitions of income level, the study found that energy use by the average higher income person’s home puts out 6,482 pounds of greenhouse gases a year. For a person in the lower income level, the amount is 5,225 pounds, the study calculated. Wesleyan University climate economist Gary Yohe, who wasn’t part of the study, said the analysis helps the search for solutions to global warming by offering “two new targets for policy action or behavioral modification beyond the usual list: floor space and density.”

Nine of the 10 states that produce the most heat-trapping gas per person rely heavily on coal or have cold weather. West Virginia by far leads the nation with 10,046 pounds of greenhouse gas per person per year, followed by Oklahoma, Wyoming, North Dakota, Kentucky, Missouri, Iowa, Alabama, South Dakota and Colorado. California by far is the greenest state with 2,715 pounds of greenhouse gas per person. Oregon, New York, Utah, Washington, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Idaho, Connecticut and New Mexico round out the 10 cleanest states, the study showed.

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