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Carbon Dioxide Emissions by State

Discover how much carbon dioxide your state produces

For business

Last updated August 11, 2023

Everything’s bigger in Texas, including the state’s carbon footprint, according to Choose Energy’s August analysis of data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). The EIA’s most recent report shows that Texas produced 13.5% of the nation’s carbon dioxide in 2021.

The Lone Star State’s 623 million metric tons of carbon dioxide produced in 2021 was more than double the carbon emitted in California, the second-largest producer. The following report breaks down which states produced the most and least carbon dioxide in 2021, all shown in million metric tons.

Following is a breakdown of the 2021 carbon emissions by state, as well as the percentage increase or decrease from the year 2000 and the percentage increase or decrease from 2020:

Another way of measuring carbon emissions

Because some states have a larger population, they produce greater amounts of carbon dioxide. We control for this by measuring the carbon dioxide per capita metric tons of emissions per person in each state.

Which states are improving their carbon footprint?

Nationally, carbon dioxide emissions have fallen 16.3% since 2000, but have risen 6.9% since 2020.

Maine has experienced the most significant decrease in emissions since 2000, cutting carbon levels by 35.2%.

Unfortunately, levels haven’t gone down in every state. Following are states where carbon dioxide emissions have increased since 2000:

Only three states have experienced a decrease in carbon dioxide emissions since 2020: Wyoming (-1.9%), Virginia (-0.2%), and Mississippi (-0.2%).

Every other state experienced an increase in emission levels from 2020 to 2021. Hawaii increased carbon emissions the most, with a 16.2% rise in emission levels.

Where does the carbon dioxide originate?

Nationally, transportation is responsible for the largest chunk of carbon dioxide emissions — 37.2%. But the generation of electricity is the second-largest offender, with 31.4%.

Following is a percentage breakdown by sector for each state’s carbon dioxide emissions:

Where does your state rank among the largest producers?

While generating electricity produces the highest percentage of carbon dioxide emissions in most states, West Virginia experiences that to the extreme because it relies heavily on coal. Meanwhile, Louisiana generates more than half of its CO2 from industrial uses. See where your state ranks among the largest producers in each sector:

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Photo credit: Shutterstock