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Energy and Emissions from U.S. Population Shifts and Implications for Regional GHG Mitigation Planning

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journal contribution
posted on 03.11.2015, 00:00 by Rachel Hoesly, H. Scott Matthews, Chris Hendrickson
Living in different areas is associated with different impacts; the movement of people to and from those areas will affect energy use and emissions over the U.S. The emissions implications of state-to-state migration on household energy and GHG emissions are explored. Three million households move across state lines annually, and generally move from the North East to the South and West. Migrating households often move to states with different climates (thus different heating and cooling and needs), different fuel mixes, and different regional electricity grids, which leads them to experience changes in household emissions as a result of their move. Under current migration trends, the emissions increases of households moving from the Northeast to the South and Southwest are balanced by the emissions decreases of households moving to California and the Pacific Northwest. The net sum of emissions changes for migrating households is slightly positive but near zero; however, that net zero sum represents the balance of many emission changes. Planning for continued low carbon growth in low carbon regions or cities experiencing high growth rates driven by migration is essential in order to offset the moderate emissions increases experienced by households moving to high carbon regions.