Political influences on greenhouse gas emissions from US states

Author(s):

Thomas Dietz, Kenneth A. Frank, Cameron T. Whitley, Jennifer Kelly, and Rachel Kelly

Journal or Book Title: PNAS

Keywords: greenhouse gas emissions; human drivers; environmentalism; STIRPAT; multi-level models

Volume/Issue: Early Edition

Year Published: 2015

Abstract:

Starting at least in the 1970s, empirical work suggested that demographic (population) and economic (affluence) forces are the key drivers of anthropogenic stress on the environment. We evaluate the extent to which politics attenuates the effects of economic and demographic factors on environmental outcomes by examining variation in CO2 emissions across US states and within states over time. We find that demographic and economic forces can in part be offset by politics supportive of the environment—increases in emissions over time are lower in states that elect legislators with strong environmental records.

DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1417806112

Type of Publication: Journal Article

News Release and Coverage:

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