The U.S. Public Interest Research Group released an analysis of government data today showing that 28 states more than doubled their carbon dioxide emissions between 1960 and 2001.
One major culprit of the spike in emissions: Increased combustion of oil to fuel our cars and trucks, which accounted for 40% of the total rise. “Oil emissions from the transportation sector soared over the period due to a dramatic rise in vehicle travel and the stagnating fuel efficiency of vehicles, while oil emissions from every other sector peaked in the 1970s”:
The U.S. PIRG report underscores the need for immediate action to avoid a global climate crisis. As James Hansen, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, said last December: “The Earth’s climate is nearing, but has not passed, a tipping point, beyond which it will be impossible to avoid climate change with far ranging undesirable consequences.” These consequences, he said, would “constitute practically a different planet” and include sea level rise, heat waves, drought, more intense hurricanes, decreased crop yields, and water scarcity.