The U.S. Energy Information Administration has a new report ranking the states in a number of ways but all dealing with energy-related carbon dioxide emissions.
I-News at Rocky Mountain PBS compared 2011 carbon emissions per state released by the EIA with U.S. Census data on state population estimates. The analysis confirmed that neighboring Wyoming, the least populated state in the nation, had the highest per capita carbon dioxide emissions, with 112.3 metric tons of carbon per resident.
Or, as Mead Gruver of The Associated Press put it in a story from Cheyenne, "Turns out the worst state for carbon dioxide emissions per person isn't smoggy California or bustling New York, but a place famous for its big, clear skies: Wyoming."
Gruver singled out Wyoming's coal mining industry and its coal-fired power plants as reasons. Two other small population, big energy states were next in CO2 emissions per person, North Dakota and Alaska. West Virginia and Louisiana rounded out the top five.
Colorado was in the middle pack of states in carbon emissions per capita, ranking 22nd highest by producing 17.8 metric tons per person, according to the EIA report and I-News analysis.
But lest we feel too cheerful about that number, the EIA offers this zinger: Between 2000 and 2010, Colorado experienced the greatest absolute increase in carbon dioxide emissions of any state, 11.8 million metric tons or 13.9 percent. The state's total energy-related emissions in 2010 were just shy of 100 million metric tons.
Texas is by far and away the greatest emitter among the states of the notorious greenhouse gas, almost 650 million metric tons in 2010, while California was second at more than 350 million. But in emissions per capita, California was among the bottom five, a number that also included New York, Vermont, Connecticut and Oregon, all between 9.4 and 8 metric tons per person.