Smell the CO2.
Of the top 100 metro areas in the United States, Knoxville’s is number 10 in per capita emissions of carbon dioxide according to a report released yesterday by the Brookings Institute. I’d wager that this statistic has something to do with Knoxville’s entrenched car culture. We’re 7th in the country for urban sprawl (another top 10 appearance) and on top of that haven’t had a successful mass transit system since the streetcars stopped running in the ’40s. The city also has an historically extensive hinterland into the hills of the surrounding counties.
For years the city has been trying to pimp the Knoxville Area Transit, but by “Knoxville Area” they pretty much seem to mean Knox County (and not all of it). That means if you live in any of the suburbs of Knoxville in surrounding counties (like, say Seymour), you’ve got to drive to get to town. There’s no other choice. And since Knoxville fills most of Knox County, that leaves a sizable slice of the metro area reliant on their automobiles to get to work and everyone in the city reliant on their automobiles to visit their family out in Anderson or Blount or Jefferson or Sevier or Union County. So if the city wants to take this new ranking seriously, extend KAT service into the full “Knoxville Area.” At least that’s my sense of things from out in the hinterland. But the numbers from the people who made the report say that Knoxville has already been reducing its emissions in the major metrics since 2000, albeit slowly.
And here’s the complete list from the Brookings Institute. Lexington, Kentucky was top, by the way. Dangburned Wildcats.
Interesting stuff. Is your hometown on the list?
By the way, this is a new sort of feature for this blog. I’d like to start doing some local-themed blogging. I know most people from SFN won’t care, but I’ll try to bridge from the local into topics of wider interest.