In 2017, the United States emitted over 6,200 metric tons of greenhouse gases, more than Russia and the entirety of Europe combined. The country is second only to China in emissions, but while China has a population more than quadrupling that of the United States, it less than doubles U.S. emissions.
And while the U.S. has stalled on clean power initiatives and withdrawn from the Paris climate accord, China and most other developed nations have made significant commitments to transform their energy infrastructures.
In the United States, environmental challenges are of course not limited to carbon emissions. The environment continues to face a range of threats, including under-regulated natural resource extraction, water pollution, and the destruction of natural habitats by industrial activities.
Even as the nation lags behind much of the world, and depressed gas prices have further reduced the sense of urgency felt by many businesses and regional governments, the country is slowly but surely making a transition to a renewable and emission-free power grid. Some states are much further along than others in this and other factors related to the environment.
24/7 Wall St. ranked all 50 states based on how environmentally friendly they are. The rank is based on an index consisting of a range of measures, including the share of residents who commute either by carpool, public transit, walking, or biking. We also considered air pollution levels across each state and the level of consumption of renewable energy. States are ranked from the most environmentally friendly to the least.