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Are U.S. states equally prepared for a carbon-constrained world?


  • Mark C. Snead
  • Amy A. Jones


Climate concerns linked to greenhouse gas emissions, particularly carbon dioxide (CO2), have taken center stage in the national energy policy debate. Domestic energy use and carbon emissions continue to rise, and forecasts suggest further increases under the existing regulatory structure. However, heightened international and domestic pressure to reduce U.S. carbon emissions suggests that additional changes to the regulatory framework are probable in coming years. ; Reducing U.S. carbon emissions will likely require a comprehensive national framework that will alter the pattern of energy use and production in all 50 states. At issue for state-level policymakers is that carbon restrictions are unlikely to affect the states equally. Energy use and emission patterns vary widely across states, and there is no accepted framework for allocating shares of a national carbon reduction goal. As a result, states that emit the most carbon or have the most energy- and carbon-intensive economies may shoulder the greatest burden. ; Snead and Jones evaluate the current energy posture of the states and thus how prepared they are to cope with ongoing trends in energy use, especially restrictions on carbon emissions. Their findings suggest that the New England, Mid-Atlantic and West Coast states are generally best prepared. These states have the least energy-intensive economies and use fuel mixes with low average carbon intensity; hence, they already release proportionately less CO2. The states expected to be hardest hit by carbon constraints are the traditional energy-producing and agricultural states. These states have energy-intensive economies, by both domestic and international standards, and will face a considerable challenge in altering their energy use and emissions patterns.

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  • Mark C. Snead & Amy A. Jones, 2010. "Are U.S. states equally prepared for a carbon-constrained world?," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, issue Q IV, pages 67-96.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedker:y:2010:i:qiv:p:67-96:n:v.95no.4

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Stern, David I., 2004. "The Rise and Fall of the Environmental Kuznets Curve," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 32(8), pages 1419-1439, August.
    2. Joseph E. Aldy, 2007. "Energy and Carbon Dynamics at Advanced Stages of Development: An Analysis of the U.S. States, 1960-1999," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 1), pages 91-112.
    3. David G. Terkla & Peter B. Doeringer, 1991. "Explaining variations in employment growth: Structural and cyclical change among states and local areas," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 329-348, May.
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