Filthy Footprint: Harrisburg-Carlisle Ranks Among Worst in the Nation in Carbon Emissions: Patriot News

May 29th, 2008: The Patriot News

Filthy Footprint: Harrisburg-Carlisle Ranks Among Worst in the Nation in Carbon Emissions

By Gary Lenton

If you live in the midstate and worry about global warming, consider this: You are responsible for more carbon pollution than, say, a guy who lives in South Philly or Brooklyn.

That’s the finding in a study of carbon emissions in the 100 largest metropolitan areas of the U.S. released today by the Metropolitan Policy Program at the Brookings Institution.

Carbon dioxide, which is produced naturally or by burning fossil fuels, is considered a primary contributor to potential climate change. The amount of carbon pollution caused by an individual’s lifestyle choices — such as the car they drive — is commonly referred to a person’s “carbon footprint.”

According to the Brookings study, the region’s residents generate about 3.19 tons of carbon emissions per year to maintain their lifestyles.

The figure is 1.5 times the national average of 2.24 tons.

Philadelphia’s score was 2.14.

Honolulu was lowest, 1.36.

The actual numbers are likely higher, because the study did not include commercial and industrial sources. That will be done later.

Instead, it focused on residential energy consumption and transportation. What researchers found was that compact residential development with access to rail transportation had lower carbon emissions over all.

The Harrisburg region scored near the bottom because of its development pattern, lack of rail-based mass transit and because of the high volume of diesel trucks.

“The data clearly capture the fact that this is a major transportation shipping point. And it is a heavy contributor to your carbon footprint,” said Mark Muro, policy director for the Metropolitan Policy Program.

A quarter of all fuel consumed and carbons emitted in the metro areas included in the study came from trucks, the study said.

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