Five states top the list in reducing greenhouse gas emissions

August 24, 2010

First place claimed by Arkansas, followed by California, New York, Texas and Alabama

Los Angeles, CA  – Annually, carbon offset projects in Arkansas reduce enough greenhouse gases (GHGs) from the atmosphere to equal the amount of emissions produced by 322,380 passenger vehicles over an entire year, according to the Climate Action Reserve, North America’s largest carbon offset registry.  Another way to measure the amount is to think of it in terms of the carbon removed from the atmosphere by growing 43,232,026 tree seedlings for 10 years.  By reducing such a significant amount of GHGs through projects registered with the Climate Action Reserve, Arkansas has earned the status of reducing more GHG emissions than any other U.S. state.  Joining Arkansas at the top of the list are California, New York, Texas and Alabama.

GHGs contribute to global warming by keeping heat, or radiative energy, in the atmosphere, and scientists point to a direct correlation between increased amounts of GHGs and extreme weather, such as this summer’s scorching temperatures and record-setting flooding.  Carbon offset projects are activities that prevent GHGs from entering the atmosphere, making them climate change solutions that have an impact on the environment right now.

One of the most valuable benefits of high quality offset projects is that they reduce greenhouse gases in the atmosphere today.  While we work on transitioning to a clean energy economy and reducing the amounts of emissions we produce, offset projects are providing true benefit to the environment.  They are a way to take action and see results now,” said Gary Gero, president of the Climate Action Reserve.

Ranking a close second after Arkansas, California is well known around the world for its pioneering environmental initiatives and its landmark climate change and energy bill, AB 32.

Every year, offset projects in California reduce the same amount of GHGs as taking 303,182 passenger vehicles off the road for a year.  Coming in third is New York, a member of the first regional group to implement a cap-and-trade program, the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI).  Annually, offset projects in New York reduce enough GHGs to equal the emissions generated by 124,520 passenger vehicles every year.

The southern states are not as well known as their coastal counterparts for being environmental leaders.  However, on an annual basis, offset projects in Texas reduce the equivalent of taking 83,052 passenger cars off the road for a year.  Alabama offset projects reduce the same amount of GHGs that would be achieved if 39,518 passenger vehicles were removed from the road for a year.

Some of the states on this top five list will be a surprise to people.  It’s important to note that businesses, organizations and people living in these states not only support reducing emissions through emission reduction projects but they are financially benefiting from these projects by earning offset credits that can be traded in the carbon market.  These people have realized opportunities to use a market-based approach and financial incentives to take action against our most pressing global challenge today – climate change,” said Gero.

Offset projects from these five states are all registered with the Climate Action Reserve.  The projects include destroying ozone depleting substances, using forests to remove carbon and methane capture from landfills, livestock farms and coal mines.  The projects comply with the most rigorous and comprehensive standards for offset projects and have been independently reviewed by accredited third party verification bodies.  Information on these projects and their verifications are publicly accessible at www.climateactionreserve.org.

Actual amounts of GHGs removed by projects in each state are listed in the chart below.

State Metric tons of CO2e* reduced
Arkansas 1,858,551
California 1,747,869
New York 717,866
Texas 478,805
Alabama 227,822

* CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent) is a measure for comparing carbon dioxide with other GHGs; it is calculated by multiplying the metric tons of a gas by the appropriate global warming potential (GWP)

The Climate Action Reserve is a private nonprofit organization representing international interests in addressing climate change and bringing together participants from the government, environment and business sectors.  As the premier carbon offset registry in North America, it works to ensure environmental benefit, integrity and transparency in the carbon market.  It establishes high quality standards for quantifying and verifying greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction projects, oversees independent third-party verification bodies, issues carbon credits generated from such projects and tracks the transaction of credits over time in a transparent, publicly-accessible system.  By ensuring that GHG reduction projects provide true environmental benefit and earn high quality offsets, the Climate Action Reserve is creating a trusted and valuable commodity and bringing credibility and efficiency to the carbon market.  For more information, please visit www.climateactionreserve.org.