Austin Still Needs to Work on Reducing its Environmental Impact

Posted by Crystal Olenbush on Monday, August 11th, 2008 at 7:07pm.

Although Austin recently received recognition for its use of solar power, the city still has some work to do when it comes to taking care of the environment.  According to a recent article, the city is leaving a larger “carbon footprint” than ever before.

According to Wikipedia, a carbon footprint is defined as the “measure of the impact human activities have on the environment in terms of the amount of greenhouse gases produced, measured in units of carbon dioxide.”

While Austin has certainly taken some steps to try to reduce its footprint, the continual growth of the city has made it difficult to bring down the city’s total impact.  In fact, a study conducted by the Brookings Institution showed that the use of transportation and energy in Metro Austin experienced a 10.5% increase from 2000 to 2005. 

Although it may not come as much of a surprise that the city’s overall carbon footprint has increased, it may come to a surprise that the average Austin resident leaves a larger footprint than the national average.  Within the largest 100 metropolitan cities in the United States, the average resident created 2.2 tons of carbon in 2005.  Austin residents, on the other hand, created an average of 2.6 tons of carbon during that same year.

Overall all, Austin ranked 55th among the 100 cities studied.  Honolulu had the least impact, with its residents averaging 1.3 metric tons each.  Lexington, Kentucky, on the other hand, was at the bottom of the list.  Its residents created an average of 3.5 tons of carbon per year.

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