A handful of U.S. state produce much more CO2 than the rest – but this data only tells half the story.
Louisiana, Alaska, West Virginia, North Dakota and Wyoming have per-capita emission ratios that are higher than those of any other state in the nation by at least 50 percent. In the case of Wyoming, per capita CO2 emissions exceed the national average five-fold.
Every person in Wyoming produced around 105 tons of CO2 in 2018, the latest year on record with the St. Louis Fed. But two-thirds of Wyoming emissions are created through the generation of electricity. While this does happen in a way that is not very climate friendly, Wyomans are not the only people using that electricity. The state is one of the biggest exporters of power. Similarly, California is one of the biggest importers of electricity, a factor contributing to its low CO2 per capita score.
North Dakota and West Virginia emit CO2 through electricity production at similar rates to that of Wyoming. In Alaska and Louisiana, oil and gas extraction are pushing up industrial CO2 emission, which make up 48 percent and 60 percent of total CO2 emissions in these states, respectively.