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Conservation Science for a Healthy Planet

California among 33 states that reduced CO2 while growing its economy

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December 8 2016 KPCC Emily Guerin

A new report from the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program has found that 33 states and Washington D.C. have managed to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions while simultaneously growing their economies….Lead author Devashree Saha said her findings challenge assertions that efforts to fight global warming will necessarily hurt the economy

…Decoupled just means any time states have de-linked their economic growth, measured in terms of real GDP, from carbon emissions. Basically your carbon emissions are decreasing and your GDP is increasing…

Natural gas prices have been low enough to prompt many power plant operators to make the switch from coal, which is twice as carbon intensive as natural gas.

That’s happening in many parts of the country, and it has been a very important driver in the ability of several states to decouple their emissions from their economic growth.

Our research surprisingly found that nuclear has been playing a very important role in the ability of states to decouple and decarbonize their economy.  States like Georgia, Tennessee, Virginia, they have all managed double-digit economic growth and double-digit reduction in CO2 emissions. A lot of that has to do with the role played by nuclear in these states. Georgia sources more than a quarter of its electricity from nuclear, Tennessee almost a third….

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