You are here

Interactive Graphic: What Do Your State’s Emissions Look Like?

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will soon release the Clean Power Plan, aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the U.S. power sector, the country’s single-largest source of emissions. State-level actions to boost efficiency and ramp up clean energy will play a central role at reining in power sector emissions and helping the United States meet its climate target to reduce emissions 26-28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025.

Using data from WRI’s CAIT Climate Data Explorer, the interactive graph below allows you to explore which states account for the most emissions in the United States, and from what sectors those emissions originate.

To embed large version:
<iframe src="" scrolling="no" style="width: 940px; height: 935px; border: 0"></iframe>
To embed small version:
<iframe src="" scrolling="no" style="width: 605px; height: 725px; border: 0"></iframe>

This breakdown of U.S. emissions tells a number of stories:

A handful of states contribute nearly half of U.S. emissions.

The top 10 emitting states account for 48.8 percent of emissions, while the lowest 10 contribute just 3 percent.

Per capita emissions show a different picture.

The graph below highlights how state emissions look when you split them up by person. The top states are very different. In fact, only one of the top 10 emitters (Louisiana) is among the 10 states with the highest per capita emissions.

Electric power is a major source of emissions, but its contribution to total emissions varies significantly from state-to-state.

Other sources such as transportation, industry, agriculture and waste also play important roles. For instance in California, transportation is the largest source of emissions. Explore these differences further in our 7 Charts Explain Changing U.S. Power Sector Emissions.

Reducing Power Sector Emissions Can Generate Economic Benefits

WRI’s study, Seeing Is Believing, shows how American consumers and businesses have a long track record of benefiting from government standards and technology improvements that increase efficiencies and rein in carbon pollution. For example, state efficiency standards enacted in 24 states are saving customers $2-5 dollars for every $1 invested. Federal standards that will make vehicles twice as efficient a decade from now will save consumers money and create hundreds of thousands of new jobs.

Further strengthening clean power and energy efficiency could lead to even greater savings for states. With the United States on the cusp of finalizing the Clean Power Plan, state and federal policy makers should take a closer look at what actions they can take over time to rein in emissions from all sectors while generating health, economic and quality-of-life benefits.

EDITOR'S NOTE: 8/3/15: When this post was published, it incorrectly stated that Ohio was the only state in the top 10 emitters that was also part of the 10 states with the highest per capita emissions. It is actually Louisiana that holds this title.


Capitalism, unrestrained by the requirements of Planetary life support systems, is guaranteed mutually assured destruction. Socially enabled capitalism is clearly a failed paradigm. Help end tax funded pollution of the commons for starters.

Jobs are needed for all and the only jobs that can provide 100% employment and not kill the planet are GREEN JOBS. Green jobs are rewarding in and of themselves, are not rocket science, have room for advancement, and good for the Nation and the world. With universal health care, access to green transportation, and little to no tax, folks could work for far less wages and still improve their lives significantly. As folks worked their way up the pay scale the tax burden could increase and those folks would willing pay those taxes. The problem with taxes it that when the largest share of our tax $$$ are spent on war and subsidies for pollution profiteers that is when we get testy about them.

The old Soviet Union had the worst pollution since the state had a monopoly so who was going to check the state. Sometimes even the corporate polluters get got or fine since its separate from the State.

Well, hoping I have an impact! We just updated all of our bulbs to L.E.D. Efficient Air conditioners, and insulation, new appliances, etc. As well as watching how we use things and reducing their use. Hoping to have solar panels installed soon as well.

Add new comment

Stay Connected