About Decarb My State
Tired of waiting for Congress to act on the climate crisis? Then, decarbonize your state.
Decarb My State allows Americans to picture exactly where their state’s carbon pollution comes from, and how to eliminate it.
Ok then, how do we end climate pollution?
Decarbonization is simple—in every state, we can eliminate most emissions using clean electrification:
- We electrify the fossil fuel machines we use to heat our homes, cook our food, and get around.
- We clean all our electricity, mostly by building wind and solar. (And we need to double the electricity we produce today, to power our new electric machines.)
...and then there's everything else
Decarbonization is also inevitable. Wind, solar, and batteries are getting so cheap, they’re starting to outcompete fossil fuels. And they’re only going to get cheaper.
The problem: decarbonization is going to take too long to avoid the worst effects of climate change. We need to speed it way up, using climate policy. And with climate action blocked in Congress, the path forward is through the states.
Why focus on states?
- Clarity: at a global or even national scale, the climate crisis can be incredibly overwhelming. At the state level, solutions become much clearer.
- Opportunity: state and local governments are responsible for 50-75% of the climate action we need—regardless of what Congress does—according to Climate Cabinet. And they can have a surprisingly huge impact: taken together, CO, IL, WA, CA, and NY make up the world’s 4th largest economy. They’ve all passed groundbreaking climate laws recently. And with the right policy, they could single-handedly make solar panels, wind turbines, heat pumps, and electric cars much cheaper, worldwide.
- Accessibility: it’s much easier for regular people to make a difference at the state level. You can lobby your legislators personally. You can run for local office, or get someone elected. You can join one of the issue campaigns that are winning climate policy across the country—typically, they have only have a few dozen volunteers, so your involvement can actually help pass a bill.
Ready to do something in your state? Get started here.
Who built this?
The team includes: Derek Eder, Juan-Pablo Velez, Viktor Köves, Sean Watland, Howard Kier, Dylan Halpern, Elisa Rudolph, Joyce Ohiri, Samantha Goodman, Shelby Barron, Jack Madans, Surag Nuthulapaty and Robert Herrera.
The initial code for this project was forked from Who benefits from climate ambition? by Data for Progress, Sunrise Movement and DataMade.
Where did you get your ideas?
Our visual storytelling approach was inspired by a recent talk by Juan-Pablo Velez titled “What does it actually take to decarbonize a state?”
Why do you only focus on wind and solar power? Is that reliable?
The key problem of wind and solar is intermittency: the wind doesn't always blow, and the sun doesn't always shine. Batteries can store solar power for use at night, or wind power for use on less windy days. But they can't extra energy during the summer to use in the winter, when there's less sun and wind.
To solve this seasonal intermittency problem, we use renewable overbuilding: the trick is to build enough wind and solar to reliably power your state during the winter. During the summer, you end up with more power than you need. But you can use it make green hydrogen, which can cleanly power planes, factories, and other hard-to-electrify machines.
Our estimates of how much (overbuilt) wind and solar each state must build to
- produce reliable year-round power while
- fully electrifying cars and buildings
Why don't you feature nuclear power?
We are not against nuclear. On the contrary, our actually analysis assumes that all existing nuclear plants stay open for the foreseeable future.
Nuclear is safe and reliable. Though expensive, building more nuclear plants would allow us to build fewer wind and solar farms.
That said, this site intentionally depicts how much wind and solar we need to decarbonize every state, and argues that this "all-renewables" approach is fact feasible (and affordable) using overbuilding.
Data and sources
All of the data used on this website are from publicly available and trusted government and nonprofit sources. Below is a description of the primary datasets and their publishers. For more details on how we discovered and worked with this data, take a look at our GitHub issue tracker for data and our data folder of this open source project.
U.S. Emissions By State
Climate Watch - U.S. States Greenhouse Gas Emissions
World Resources Institute
March 23, 2021
U.S. Building Footprints And Electrification
U.S. Building Footprints
Mar 27, 2021
U.S. Building Stock Characterization Study
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)
Vehicles By State
State Motor-Vehicle Registrations
U.S. Department of Transportation
Power Plants By State
Environmental Justice Screening and Mapping Tool (EJScreen)
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Jan 27, 2021
State Renewable Generation Targets
Electric generation by source 2001-2021
U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA)
Updated Apr 2022
All the code for this site is open source and available on GitHub under the MIT license.
This website is hosted on Netlify.
Found a bug? Report it on our issue tracker!
Have a suggestion or question? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org