Last year saw the largest rise in carbon dioxide emissions in the United States since the Environmental Protection Agency started recording the statistic.
And a new report from the Environmental Integrity Project shows that Indiana is pumping out more than its fair share of CO2 emissions.
The report shows that Indiana spewed the fourth largest amount of CO2 into the atmosphere of any state in the U.S. — 123,695,438 tons of CO2 — just behind Ohio and just ahead of Pennsylvania. That's a 6 million ton jump from last year.
It's hardly a surprise, with Indiana producing 95 percent of its electricity from coal, and a governor that continues to promote the polluting energy source.
To be clear, coal is a wasteful, inefficient, and polluting source of energy. Nationwide, for example, coal-fired power plants were the biggest culprit for CO2 emissions. While they only provided 43 percent of the electricity in the U.S., they were responsible for 81 percent of total U.S. CO2 emissions from electricity generation.
Indiana's top polluter is a coal plant in Gibson, Ind. It produced nearly 20 million tons of CO2 in 2010. To put that in perspective, 13 states produce less CO2 than that one plant. And if you combine Indiana's top two CO2 emitting power plants, they generate a little more CO2 emissions than — get this! — the entire state of California.
That's right. A state with more than five times the population of Indiana generates less than a third of the CO2 emissions.
So next time you hear Mitch Daniels touting clean energy or low-carbon emitting power plants in Indiana, call his B.S., and tell him it means nothing until this number drops significantly and Indiana starts investing in real clean energy.