An Analysis of Environmental and Economic Impacts of Fossil Fuel Production in the U.S. from 2001 to 2015

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CO2 emissions, economic well-being, fossil fuels, natural resources-environmental sociology

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The production and burning of fossil fuels is the primary contributor to CO2 emissions for the U.S. We assess the impact of producing coal, crude oil, and natural gas on the environment and economic well-being by analyzing state-level data from 2001 to 2015. Our findings show that coal production has led to more CO2 emissions and no significant benefit to economic well-being. Crude oil production has a non-significant impact on CO2 emissions but is related to a lower poverty rate, a higher median household income, and a higher employment rate. Natural gas withdrawals have a positive impact on median household income. We discuss these findings in the context of current U.S. energy policies and then provide directions for future research.

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Society & Natural Resources, v. 32, issue 6, p. 693-708