The most climate-friendly states in the United States
In this article, we will look at the United States of America and, more specifically, at the states that are most climate-friendly. Make sure to check out sustainablejobs.com if you are looking for a meaningful and impactful job yourself. Please read along!
How climate friendly is the United States?
Let’s start with the bad news. Only China emits more CO2 than the United States. The US is responsible for around 14% of the global CO2 emissions, despite only having a little over 4% of the world’s citizens. On the upside, the country is shifting towards a more sustainable future. Multiple states are setting an example for the rest of America.
Being climate friendly does not only consist of one thing. It is a broad term, which means many variables should be taken into consideration regarding being classified ‘climate friendly’. A report conducted by WalletHub was published in April 2021. The analysts looked at all 50 states to determine which of them was the greenest. They looked at all of them and came up with three different categories:
- Environmental quality
- Eco-friendly behaviors
- Climate-change contributions
These categories are a little vague, so the researchers created 25 metrics. Next, they used official data and started looking at how the states approached recycling, the total amount of carbon emitted, and their energy consumption.
The top 10 greenest states are:
- New York
What stands out is that all these states are so-called ‘blue states,’ meaning they were democratic based on the 2020 Elections. All of the American West coast is represented by California, Oregon, and Washington. Half of the total are states that are situated in the Northeast, which only leaves Minnesota and Hawaii.
The best kid in class
The state of Vermont topped the list and is defined to be the most eco-friendly. It ranked number 1 in terms of eco-friendliness, examples being the number of organic farms per capita, the number of electric cars, and the amount of time it generally takes to get from one place to another. Vermont ranked second for environmental quality. These consist not only of water, air, and soil quality but also energy efficiency.
It is pretty interesting to see how different the results are in each state. For example, the state of New York scores lowest when it comes to the amount of gasoline being consumed per capita, which is a good thing. Though it has not been disclosed, it is safe to say that New York City plays a major part in this. The Big Apple is extremely well connected with an extensive subway and bus system. MTA, New York’s transport agency, states that around 2.4 million people use the subway on a daily basis, as well as 1.2 million travelers who use the bus. New York City makes up almost half of the total amount of people who live in the state of New York. Having a transport system that is extensive, reliable, and affordable makes it easier for people to choose this more sustainable means of transportation. Other cities and metropolitan areas should take note and realize that public transportation is a great way to reduce carbon emissions by individuals. Of course, serious investments have to be made in order to make it beneficial for everybody.
Green American initiatives
The United States ranks 27th in the world on the list of most sustainable countries in the world, falling far behind the European countries. The top 5 consists of Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, and Germany. The ranking has been revealed by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN). They say that the poor ranking of the US has mainly to do with the country’s lack of making progress in terms of being environmentally sustainable. To top it all off, America is also one of the worst countries in the world when it comes to recycling. However, the report states that the United States has improved in certain areas, these being social sustainability and economic sustainability. This has to do with its relatively high level of education, as well as equality in income.
But what else is the US doing in terms of becoming a more sustainable country? America is starting to realize that it has to take responsibility by not only being the second largest emitter of CO2 in the world but also because it is the most powerful nation in the world. Therefore, many initiatives have started. Take the Green Power Partnership, for example. This organization has been set up by the EPA, which is the Environmental Protection Agency, with its main goal being to encourage organizations and companies to use more renewable energy. Better Buildings Challenge, on the other hand, is there to let companies know they should lower their energy consumption. The SunShot Initiative inspires by making solar power a more affordable option for businesses as well as individuals.
It is great to see organizations rising to the occasion by doing what has to be done. The question, however, is whether it will be enough.
I hope this article has given you some insight when it comes to sustainability in the United States. Despite being the second largest emitter of CO2 in the world, it is good to see that organizations and individuals are stepping up to make a change for the better.
Are you also looking to enter a new path? Then make sure to take a look at our list of companies that excel in sustainability. Your next job just might be waiting for you!