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Is Virginia “#1 in Climate Issues”? How Would We Know?

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Promoting his Executive Order about developing regulation for carbon pricing, Governor Terry McAuliffe tweeted out that this would “keep VA #1 on climate issues“. While that tweet generated some ridiculing from clean energy activists, McAuliffe’s tweeted assertion raises the question: What does it mean to be “#1 on climate issues”?

Smart Asset
Which States Lead on Renewable Energy Policy and Progress

How might we measure this? Here are some potential items:

  • Carbon Emissions per capita?
  • Energy use per capita?
  • Energy Efficiency? (home? business? car?)
  • ‘Climate-aware policies’?
  • Industrial pollution?
  • “Leading the charge on renewable energy”?
  • Or …

Thus, a quick look at ‘what measurements’ might exist to help illuminate the question of who is “#1 on climate issues“.  Essentially, across the board, Virginia is middle-of-the-pack (or toward the bottom) in results, and policies to address climate change.

Various Measures of States related to “Climate Issues”

Category Best Worst Virginia Source
Per Capita Energy Use New York Louisiana 30 EIA
CO2 Emissions Per Capita Washington, DC Texas 18 EIA
Energy Efficiency MA/CA (tied) North Dakoa 33 ACEEE
Energy Efficiency New York South Carolina 35 Wallet Hub
Home Energy Efficiency Utah Louisiana 36 Wallet Hub
Car Energy Efficiency New York North Dakota 31 Wallet Hub
Worst Industrial Pollution  Ohio 14 World Atlas
Toxic Chemical Releases Rhode Island Alaska 20 Scorecard
Renewable Energy Leaders Oregon Smart Asset
Clean Energy Momentum California Union of Concerned Scientists
Greenest States Vermont Wyoming 31 Wallet Hub
Environmental quality Vermont Montana 46 Wallet Hub
Eco-Friendly Behaviors Oregon Louisiana 39 Wallet Hub
Climate-Change Contributions Delaware Montana 15 Wallet Hub

A simple question:

By what measure is “VA #1 on climate issues”?

(For more discussion, see Ranking: What does it mean to be #1 on climate?)

  • Quizzical

    Maybe Virginia is #1 in climate change denialists in the state legislature, considering the magnitude of the risks faced in the Hampton Roads region, the total lack of any action, the lack of any effort to develop Virginia’s abundant wind and solar resources, the failure to encourage the growth of green energy jobs in Virginia, and the fealty of the legislature to coal, oil and natural gas interests which are only interested in protecting their rice bowls.

  • Rezwan Razani

    Great question. But first, an error: In your CO2 emissions per capita row, you used Total Emissions data. Texas is worst in total emissions, but #35 in emissions per capita. And New York is number one in emissions per capita. FYI, better than green Germany. http://fp2w.org/blog/article/ny-emissions-v-germany

    Emissions per Capita is the way to go for overall rank. http://fp2w.org/blog/article/emissions-per-person That’s how we
    rank the states in the Race to Zero Carbon:
    http://fp2w.org/blog/article/race

    You can then break it down into other facets that people can be first at. Plenty of prizes to go around that way. #1 in onshore wind. #1 in solar financing, #1 in passive cooling. And you can also do handicaps and advantages. Some states have more weather extremes to contend with, requiring more heating and cooling, while other states are balmy.