Energy Excursions

Texas-Sized CO2 Emissions

How does Texas rank when it comes to CO2 emissions? The answer is #1.

It’s hot in Texas and we have a large population. Texas produces more electricity than any other state, generating almost twice as much as Florida, the second-highest electricity-producing state.

We make a lot of products in Texas—not only for Texans and Americans, but for the entire world. The state’s large volume of emissions arises in part from the state’s disproportionate share of energy-intensive manufacturing.

Texas is a big state with an increasing population and people like to drive cars. Some of our large volume of emissions comes from a growing auto-dependent population.

Total CO2 emissions by state 2018 (EIA)
Top 10 states for CO2 emissions 2018 (EIA)

Texas emits more CO2 than any other state in the United States. Although much of the discharge is indicative of the state’s larger economy and population, it also reflects the prominence of the region’s energy industry.1U.S. Energy Information Administration. (n.d.). Texas State Profile and Energy Estimates. Rankings: Total Carbon Dioxide Emissions, 2018. Retrieved July 15, 2021, from https://www.eia.gov/state/rankings/?sid=TX#series/226.

Large Industrial Sector

Texas energy consumption by sector 2019 (EIA)

Texas is the largest energy-producing and energy-consuming state in the nation. The industrial sector, including its refineries and petrochemical plants, accounts for half of the energy consumed in the state.

Why is our industrial sector so large?

  • Texas is the top crude oil and natural gas producing state in the nation. In 2020, Texas accounted for 43% of the nation’s crude oil production and 26% of its marketed natural gas production.
  • The 31 petroleum refineries in Texas can process almost 5.9 million barrels of crude oil per calendar day, which was 31% of the nation’s refining capacity as of January 2020.2U.S. Energy Information Administration. (n.d.). Texas State Profile and Energy Estimates. Profile Overview. Retrieved July 15, 2021, from https://www.eia.gov/state/rankings/?sid=TX#series/226.

Leader in Renewable Energy

Texas may be the #1 emitter of CO2 but at the same time, Texas leads the nation in wind-powered electricity generation. As a renewable energy leader, Texas produced about 28% of all U.S. wind-powered electricity in 2020. Wind power surpassed the state’s nuclear generation for the first time in 2014 and produced more than twice as much electricity as the state’s two nuclear power plants combined in 2020.3U.S. Energy Information Administration. (n.d.). Texas State Profile and Energy Estimates. Profile Overview. Retrieved July 15, 2021, from https://www.eia.gov/state/rankings/?sid=TX#series/226.

Texas electricity generation by source 2021 (EIA)

This data from early 2021 shows the large amount of electricity in Texas generated by nonhydroelectric renewables, consisting mostly of wind and some solar. The combination of wind and natural gas have been reducing our emissions over the past decade by displacing coal-fired power plants.

Image Credits: U.S. Energy Information Administration

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