Indiana's global warming pollution increased by 15 percent since 1990, according to a new analysis of government data released this week by Environment America. Indiana also ranks seventh nationwide for the highest levels of global warming pollution.

More pollution than ever before isn't a record we want to set. It's time to take back control of our energy future. By harnessing the power of the wind and the sun, we can cut pollution and transition to clean energy sources that don't harm the environment, never run out and create new, local jobs.

For decades, America's use of fossil fuels - and the global warming pollution that results - has been on the rise nationally and in states across the country. For Indiana, global warming means a lot of things, but the impact that is among the most concerning is more frequent and severe heat waves, which will increase the number of people who suffer heat stress and stroke.

The science shows that the United States must cut its global warming pollution by 35 percent by 2020 to be able to stop the worst effects of global warming.

"Too Much Pollution" uses the most recent data from the U.S. Department of Energy on fossil fuel consumption by state to look at trends in carbon dioxide emissions. The key findings include the following:

  • Indiana's carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel consumption increased by 15 percent between 1990 and 2007. Indiana ranked seventh nationwide for the highest levels of carbon dioxide emissions in 2007.
  • In Indiana, electricity generation was the largest source of carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel consumption - responsible for 52 percent of the state's emissions in 2007. The state is heavily reliant on coal, the dirtiest of all fuels. In fact, carbon dioxide emissions from burning coal jumped nearly 17 percent from 1990 to 2007, as Indiana met increases in electricity demand with an even greater use of dirty power. Until Indiana diversifies its electricity sources to include cleaner sources of energy, like wind and solar power, increases in electricity demand will continue to increase pollution from dirty power plants.
  • Nationally, emissions of carbon dioxide from fossil fuel consumption increased by 19 percent between 1990 and 2007. Power plants and vehicles, the largest sources of carbon dioxide emissions in the United States, were responsible for the lion's share of the increase.
  • "In contrast to the trend in Indiana, more than one-third of the states succeeded in cutting pollution from 2004 to 2007."

    In contrast to the trend in Indiana, more than one-third of the states succeeded in cutting pollution from 2004 to 2007 - before the onset of the economic recession. The initial success of these states shows that moving to clean energy can have a significant and immediate impact on overall emissions - and that emission reductions and robust economic growth can occur side by side. For instance, four Northeast states - Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts and New York - cut their pollution levels by 5 percent since 1997, while increasing their gross state products by 65 percent.

    The report recommends that the federal government build on the initial progress made by some states by passing strong clean energy legislation and adopting common sense EPA rules to cut pollution from aging coal plants and big smokestack industries. The Senate is in the process of considering the Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act (S. 1733), sponsored by Senators John Kerry and Barbara Boxer. In addition, EPA has proposed a rule to require coal plants and other large smokestack industries to use available technology to cut their global warming pollution when new facilities are constructed or existing facilities are significantly modified.

    Unfortunately, Dirty Coal, Big Oil and other polluters are fighting the transition to clean energy. The American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, a coal industry lobby group, spent at least $45 million dollars last year alone - more than $120,000 a day - on lobbyists and advertising on energy. Earlier this year, they hired lobbyists who forged phony constituent letters to Congress opposing action on clean energy.

    The coal industry has proven that it's willing to do or say virtually anything to block progress. Senators Bayh and Lugar should vote for this critical bill to cut pollution and create clean energy jobs, and the EPA should finalize its rule to cut global warming pollution from coal plants.

    Megan Severson is the Midwest Field Organizer with Environment America. She can be reached at mseverson@environmentamerica.org.