New state-level data from the Energy Information Administration shows that carbon dioxide emissions fell in most states in the last decade. But Kentucky saw a slight increase in emissions.
Thirteen years ago, Kentucky was emitting 144.7 million metric tons of carbon dioxide, generated during electricity generation. Ten years later, that number was up to about 150 million metric tons. That’s more than a four percent increase.
Three years ago, Kentucky’s electricity-related carbon dioxide emissions were the twelfth highest in the country. But when the emissions are considered on a per capita basis, Kentucky is in the top seven.
These numbers are high largely because the Commonwealth still relies on coal to provide nearly all of the state’s electricity. Petroleum and natural gas release carbon dioxide too, but coal accounted for more than half of the state’s emissions in 2010.
Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change. Measurements last week showed the gas has reached record levels worldwide, and climate scientists say large reductions are needed to avoid severe climate effects.