May 15, 2013


Yes, you’re reading that graph right. Texas—oil hungry, SUV-driving, fracking-friendly Texas—reduced its carbon emissions more than the usual green suspects of California, Germany, and Europe. The Energy Information Administration released a report yesterday full of emissions data for the fifty states over the first decade of this century. The state with the biggest absolute emissions reductions: Texas.

Not only are total and per capita emissions down deep in the heart of Texas, but its economy is producing more dollars per unit of carbon dioxide emitted (a metric known as the “carbon intensity” of the economy).

Despite the reductions, Texas still has higher carbon emissions than any other state. Greens are seizing on this fact as evidence that the Lone Star State is environmentally derelict, but focusing on the total emissions rather than the sharp downward trend misses the larger point: Texas is finding ways to become more carbon-efficient without gutting its energy industry.

Except for the greens, I think gutting the energy industry is the real goal. Carbon emissions are just the tool.