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Simon Evans

13.12.2016 | 1:31pm
Rest of world emissionsMapped: The US states ‘decoupling’ economic growth and emissions
REST OF WORLD EMISSIONS | December 13. 2016. 13:31
Mapped: The US states ‘decoupling’ economic growth and emissions

Some 33 US states have cut CO2 emissions while growing their economies over the past 15 years, according to new analysis from the Brookings Institution.

These states show that economic growth can be compatible with tackling climate change. The US as a whole is one of at least 35 countries around the world to have achieved the same feat, by decoupling GDP growth and CO2 emissions between 2000 and 2014.

“This success is an encouraging juncture in the campaign to limit global warming, and would seem to license cautious optimism,” write Devashree Saha and Mark Muro, the authors of the new research from the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program.

“Yet now all of that is in question. With the stunning election of Donald Trump to the presidency, every aspect of the low-carbon paradigm for national and world progress has been thrown into doubt.”

If the US federal government turns its back on climate mitigation, can individual sub-national bodies step up their own efforts? The authors explain:

“Given their substantial powers to encourage emissions decoupling, states and cities are crucial players in the carbon drama. Therefore, it is worth assessing whether states’ and localities’ momentum on decoupling is strong enough to maintain recent progress.”

For more discussion of the debate around decoupling, check out this recent Carbon Brief article. For more on changes in US states and the factors behind their varied progress, check out the full Brookings Institution analysis.

You can explore changes in states’ CO2 emissions in the interactive map, above. Delve into the data using the interactive graphic, below, which includes changes in GDP, shares of electricity generated from coal, gas, nuclear or renewables and much more. (Use the menu in the top right corner of the graphic to sort the states in different ways).

Credit for covering image: william87/iStock/Getty Images Plus.
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