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How Minnesota’s Carbon Emissions Compare to Other States

imageforentry148With each passing year, the effects of climate change become seemingly more obvious. According to NASA, June 2023 was the hottest June on record for the planet. In the United States, this summer has been marred by severe flooding in Vermont, record breaking heat waves in Arizona and Florida, and intermittent air quality alerts across much of the country resulting from thousands of wildfires in Canada. Experts have linked each of these events to man-made climate change.

Despite the increasingly destructive effects of climate change, the United States continues to pump billions of metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere every year. From 2020 to 2021, America’s energy-related carbon emissions jumped by 6.9%, or nearly 317 million metric tons.

Encouragingly, this most recent increase in carbon emissions may have been an anomaly. In 2020, America’s carbon footprint was reduced by the COVD-19 pandemic, as shelter-in-place policies reduced demand for energy and the burning of fossil fuels. By 2021, however, rising demand for consumer goods, increased use of coal in the face of rising natural gas prices, and vaccinations that allowed many to return to a more normal way of life resulted in a spike in carbon emissions.

Between 2020 and 2021, the most recent years of available data, carbon emissions in Minnesota increased by 6.1%. Over that period, energy related carbon dioxide pollution went from 78.4 million metric tons to 83.2 million metric tons.

Adjusting for population, carbon emissions in Minnesota totaled about 14.6 metric tons per person in 2021, the 25th lowest per capita output among states.

All data on state-level energy-related carbon dioxide emissions in 2020 and 2021 is from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, a division of the Department of Energy.

Rank State 1-yr change in energy related carbon emissions (%) Energy related carbon emissions in 2020 (million metric tons) Energy related carbon emissions in 2021 (million metric tons) Enery related carbon emissions per capita in 2021 (metric tons)
1 Hawaii 16.2 14.9 17.3 12.0
2 West Virginia 14.9 76.9 88.4 49.5
3 Arkansas 13.3 54.7 62.0 20.5
4 Iowa 11.4 65.7 73.1 22.9
5 Tennessee 11.2 83.3 92.7 13.3
6 Pennsylvania 10.5 193.3 213.5 16.4
7 Alabama 10.1 98.4 108.4 21.5
8 Kentucky 10.0 101.2 111.3 24.7
9 Maryland 9.3 48.1 52.6 8.5
10 South Carolina 9.1 63.6 69.3 13.4
11 Florida 9.0 207.7 226.3 10.4
12 Nevada 8.9 36.2 39.4 12.5
13 New York 8.8 143.4 156.0 7.9
14 Montana 8.5 26.3 28.5 25.8
15 North Carolina 8.4 106.6 115.6 10.9
16 Connecticut 8.3 33.8 36.6 10.1
17 Rhode Island 8.3 9.8 10.6 9.7
18 Illinois 8.3 170.2 184.2 14.5
19 Utah 8.1 57.4 62.1 18.6
20 Alaska 8.0 36.0 38.9 53.0
21 Michigan 8.0 136.9 147.8 14.7
22 Washington 7.9 68.4 73.8 9.5
23 Indiana 7.7 154.4 166.4 24.4
24 Missouri 7.6 108.7 117.0 19.0
25 Massachusetts 7.3 52.3 56.1 8.0
26 Colorado 6.8 79.9 85.4 14.7
27 Maine 6.7 13.5 14.4 10.5
28 New Hampshire 6.7 12.5 13.3 9.6
29 California 6.7 303.8 324.0 8.3
30 Georgia 6.5 116.6 124.1 11.5
31 New Jersey 6.3 83.8 89.1 9.6
32 Wisconsin 6.2 87.0 92.5 15.7
33 Texas 6.2 624.7 663.5 22.4
34 Minnesota 6.1 78.4 83.2 14.6
35 Idaho 6.0 19.4 20.5 10.8
36 Ohio 4.5 185.7 194.0 16.5
37 North Dakota 4.2 54.3 56.5 72.7
38 Oklahoma 4.1 84.4 87.8 22.0
39 Delaware 3.9 12.5 13.0 12.9
40 Arizona 3.6 80.2 83.0 11.4
41 Kansas 3.4 57.8 59.8 20.3
42 Louisiana 2.9 183.3 188.6 40.8
43 Vermont 2.8 5.4 5.6 8.6
44 Oregon 2.7 37.5 38.5 9.1
45 Nebraska 1.5 46.5 47.2 24.0
46 New Mexico 1.5 45.2 45.9 21.7
47 South Dakota 1.4 15.0 15.2 16.9
48 Mississippi -0.2 63.2 63.1 21.4
49 Virginia -0.2 98.2 98.0 11.3
50 Wyoming -1.9 55.6 54.6 94.3
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