Magazine article American Forests

A Nation Divided

Magazine article American Forests

A Nation Divided

Article excerpt

In terms of carbon dioxide production, the United States is the wrong kind of winner. The U.S. was only recently overtaken by China as the highest carbon dioxide emitter in the world. And according to a recent study reported by Reuters, the amount of carbon emissions in the U.S. is heavily divided by region, higher in the South and the East. Nine of the 10 cities with the highest emission of greenhouse gases are to the east of the Mississippi.

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The study looked at greenhouse gases produced by the burning of fuel from transportation and buildings. The Northeast has the disadvantage of cold winters, requiring more fuel to heat buildings, and the use of fuel oil burners rather than cleaner natural gas heaters. However, the Northeast also has more commuter rails, buses, and subway systems, and pollution from cars produces 80 percent of the carbon emitted for transportation. The carbon footprint of a city-dweller was 86 percent that of a suburban or rural resident.

The problem is partly southern cities like Austin, Texas; Raleigh, North Carolina; and Nashville, Tennessee whose carbon footprints have grown as rapidly as the cities themselves. …

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