Republican House Districts Emit More Carbon per Capita

Shown are U.S. House districts (average population of 650,000 people), red for Republican and blue for Democrats, with districts that emitted more carbon per capita last year shown in darker colors.

I discovered project “Vulcan” at Purdue University, which is mapping carbon emissions on a detailed level in the US; very cool. I wondered whether there is a difference in emissions between parts of the country that lean Democrat or Republican. Fortunately the wonderful Vulcan project people made it very easy to find out by publishing their data (I used the simplified data set showing emissions per capita change over about 8 months, and binned the counties by predominant House district). I did a fast and sloppy job, so this map is just approximate. To me it shows that there is a pronounced difference between the parties in likelihood to emit carbon, but (as the Vulcan project found) geography is a larger factor.

UPDATE: Kate Sherwood, who has an extremely intimidating amount of expertise and knows what she’s doing, points out that the method I’m using to map county data to congressional districts is flawed (I used centroids of counties to centroids of districts) and inaccurate so it really should be taken as only approximate (I removed the percentage thing from the title, that sounded too specific)! She pointed me to a better resource for mapping counties to districts and I am going to re-do it with that…

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