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Report: U.S. carbon dioxide emissions up 18% since 1990

By David Gram, Associated Press Writer

MONTPELIER, Vt. — Emissions of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide rose 18% in the USA from 1990 to 2004, with Texas and Nevada leading the way, an environmental group reported Thursday.

Using data from the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Public Interest Research Group analyzed carbon emissions in 48 states and rank-ordered them, finding that only Delaware, Massachusetts and the District of Columbia cut back on those emissions.

Among the findings:

Texas' carbon emissions grew by 95.8 million metric tons during the period, the largest increase of any state, followed by Florida, Illinois, North Carolina and Georgia.

Fast-growing Nevada ranked first for percentage growth in carbon emissions, at 55%, followed by Arizona (54), New Hampshire (50) and South Carolina (45).

Carbon emissions from power generation grew by 28% and by 23% in the transportation sector, with vehicle miles traveled growing fastest in the state of Florida, up 79% during the period.

"Global warming pollution is skyrocketing in the United States just as scientists are sounding alarms that we must rapidly reduce pollution to protect future generations," said Emily Figdor, director of the Washington, D.C.,-based U.S. Public Interest Research Group. "This report is a wake-up call to cap pollution levels now before it is too late."

The report comes on the heels of a United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report pointing to what scientists have concluded would be the dire effects of unchecked carbon emissions and resulting global warming.

In a supplemental report released Tuesday that focused on North America, the U.N. panel said cities like Chicago and Los Angeles could see heat waves much more often; New York and Boston could be flooded by ocean storm surges and cities in the West that use melting snow for water could face severe shortages.

U.S. Public Interest Research Group is supporting legislation — U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., is the lead sponsor in the Senate — that would cut carbon emissions to 80% below 1990 levels by 2050.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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