Briefly

Stuff that matters

Conscious decoupling

Thirty-three states (and D.C.) are cutting CO2 all the way to the bank.

That’s according to a new report from the Brookings Institution, which says a decoupling of economic growth from CO2 emissions shows that it is indeed possible to have your cake (aka money) and eat it too (aka less pollution).

us-decoupling-emissions-gdp
Brookings Institute

As Brookings put it: “President-elect Trump’s notion of an opposition between economic growth and environmental stewardship appears to be a false one.”

On average, the states that separated economic growth from emissions saw their GDPs rise by 22 percent while cutting CO2 by 12 percent between 2000 and 2014. States where emissions rose saw GDP rise too, by an average of 32 percent, but that figure might have been lower if Brookings had been able to analyze more recent data, as oil, gas, and coal prices have fallen in the last couple of years, hurting the economies of fossil fuel–producing states.

Going forward, all states need to do better — national emissions must drop 4.3 percent a year from now till 2030 to be on track to avert the worst of global warming. The good news is that even if the federal government isn’t helping, states and cities have a lot of power to cut carbon via renewable energy targets, energy-efficiency efforts, building codes, and more.