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Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from U.S. power plants climbed 2.9% in 2007, the biggest single-year increase since 1998, according to new analysis by the nonprofit and nonpartisan Environmental Integrity Project (EIP) of data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Now the single largest factor in U.S. climate change pollution, the electric power industry's carbon dioxide emissions have risen 5.9% since 2002 and 11.7% since 1997.

The new EIP report shows that the 10 states with the biggest one-year increases in CO2 pollution are: Texas, Georgia, Arizona, California, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Iowa, Illinois, Virginia and North Carolina. Texas, California and Iowa are among the states with the highest wind power capacity.

According to the EIP analysis, Texas, Georgia and Arizona had the biggest CO2 pollution increases on a one-, five- and 10-year basis. Data from 2006 show that the 10 states that emitted the most CO2 per megawatt-hour of electricity produced are: North Dakota, Wyoming, Kentucky, Indiana, Utah, West Virginia, New Mexico, Colorado, Missouri and Iowa.

"The good news is that Texas has the potential to play a major role in addressing global warming if we embrace smart energy solutions such as energy efficiency and renewable energy, solutions which pose tremendous economic as well as environmental benefits," says Ken Kramer, director of the Lone Star chapter of the Sierra Club in Austin, Texas. "The dramatic expansion of the wind power industry in Texas is a case in point. To become a true leader in clean energy, however, Texas needs to reject the new proposed coal plants that would spew even greater carbon emissions into the atmosphere, and the state must take steps to reduce emissions from existing coal plants."

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