Regarding the Aug. 15 Point of View “Cooper’s puzzling EPA stance”: Donald van der Vaart, secretary of our state’s Department of Environment and Natural Resources, suggested that asking us to follow new federal regulations governing carbon emissions from power plants was like “asking North Carolina to make a Prius more efficient while our neighbors are driving 1972 Cadillacs.”
Examining population data with carbon emissions from coal burning for all 50 states, North Carolina ranks 25th in per capita carbon emissions from coal burning at 5.3 tons of carbon per person per year.
Compared with our neighbors, we’re also in the middle. Tennessee stands at 6.3, South Carolina at 6.1 and Virginia at 2.6.
North Carolina ranks in the middle of a country that emits much more carbon per person than most nations on the planet. The United States ranks 198th out of 215 countries in that statistic with our total carbon emissions per person topping twice the world average. We emit more carbon per person than other highly developed countries such as Canada, Germany, Japan, the U.K., Italy and France, among many others.
Hardly makes us a Prius in the midst of old Cadillacs. We can do better.