Red States Use 55% More Energy, Produce 80% More Carbon Emissions

Whenever we see polls on how Americans view renewable energy, the results are always the same. A vast majority want an emphasis on renewables, but Democrats want them a lot more than Republicans. 

Interestingly, this split can also be seen in peoples’ behavior. People that live in Red states use a whopping 55% more energy on average than those in Blue states, according to a study by CO2 Scorecard.

And Red states have an even more spectacular 80% higher carbon emissions per capita.

Why? Because Red states tend to have weak energy efficiency policies. And deep disparities in energy use and CO2 emissions at the state-level pose intrinsic obstacles to cohesive climate policy nationally, CO2 Scorecard concludes.

Since carbon emissions are much higher than energy consumption in Red states, that implies people are using a lot more dirty energy (fossil fuels), which releases more carbon. 

In fact, those excess emissions add up to about 430 million tons of carbon emissions – 8% of all energy-related emissions in the US!


Why do Red states have weaker energy efficiency policies? Because fossil fuel industries have much more power in Republican-leaning states.

"As energy conservation takes root in our society, one should expect the resistance to energy efficiency policies to only intensify in the Republican leaning states where energy producers have political edge over environmental groups," say the authors. 

This doesn’t bode well for prospects of national climate legislation or renewable energy legislation, such as a national Renewable Portfolio Standard. The only hope for turning the tide is the same grassroots uprising that has forced the Republican Party to consider immigration reform and stop standing in the way of gay marriage, the authors say.

Gallup Poll Confirms This

That could explain the latest Gallup poll, which finds that two of three Americans want more emphasis on solar (76%), wind (71%) and natural gas (65%), rather than oil (46%), nuclear (37%) and coal (33%).

But the top choice for
Democrats’ and independents’ is
solar,  while natural gas is first for Republicans. And they disagree on where oil should be in terms of priorities – 71% of Republicans want more emphasis on it
compared to 29% of Democrats.

Republicans are also much more supportive of coal than Democrats (51% vs. 21%) and nuclear (49% vs. 30%). 

People living in southern (Red) states support fossil fuels more. 

Here is CO2 Scorecard’s study:

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