Map Monday: Minnesota Carbon Footprints by Zip Code

Here is a very cool map showing the “average annual carbon footprints” of different parts of the state, down to the level of individual zip codes! It’s put together by the Cool Climate Institute at Berkeley using a carbon footprint calculator developed in an academic paper in the Environmental Science and Technology journal.

Here’s the state:

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And a look at the metro area:

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Play around with the map yourself, and check out how your zip code compares to others…

As you might expect, transportation plays a big role in the carbon footprint calculation and places where the urban form encourages driving and home type comes with higher energy costs have higher footprints. Incomes play a large role, too.

To me, the takeaway is that when we say “reduce CO2 emissions” we are really talking about changing the energy patterns in the suburbs and exurbs. That’s quite a challenge!

11 thoughts on “Map Monday: Minnesota Carbon Footprints by Zip Code

      1. Eric AnondsonEric Anondson

        If anything what’s changed is that nearly no one (har har) has paid attention to just how carbon intensive exurban lifestyle is. The Twin Cities has just puttered along with the prayer that Elon Musk will save the world any day now, we can hold off on difficult choices today because the longer we do nothing the closer to a win-win utopia we get.

        The 3rd ring and exurban ring’s carbon intensive use is more than just roving living rooms on wheels with killer high fronts and electric vehicles can’t greenwash that away.

        1. Lou Miranda

          Nice catch 😝

          You can almost literally see the 494/694 loop (you can literally see it in the southwest).

          Makes you wonder where we (the state, region, & municipalities) should emphasize walkable, bikeable, transit-friendly infrastructure & land use and, in contrast, where current land use & density is beyond help without a do-over.

          1. Lou Miranda

            Most of Edina is horrible, but, wow, look at Southdale (55435)!

            Morningside isn’t bad, but it’s part of a much larger area that’s mostly Mpls & St. Louis Park, so it’s hard to say.

            Makes you wonder where we should prioritize multimodal transportation: the east side of the city.

          2. Lou Miranda

            Curious that southeast coastal Florida is so green, what with all the single family homes and the completely car-dependent lifestyle and land use. Maybe the mix of apartments and condos makes it somewhat greener? Everything is so far away, though, and you have to drive everywhere.

            1. Cobo R

              I don’t think that the data that they are feeding into the algorithm and the assumptions that they using are super accurate.

              It seems to be more of a rough cut generalized thing that is probably between 65%-80% true for each given zip code.

              Still pretty cool though.

  1. Will Mattessich

    Any guesses why 55455 (the U Campus in Minneapolis) has such a drastically higher footprint than the surrounding zip codes?

    1. Karl

      Since the numbers are on a “per household” basis, the metric is not as useful as it could be, but you can see how the CO2/households equation would be quite high in that zip code since the campus would require a pretty high amount of energy and have a relatively small number of residents.

  2. David MarkleDavid Markle

    And now another way to see how the suburbs are red (though maybe less so this election year). Am not sure what went into the data total, but much of it must be individual transportation and individual home structures.

  3. Cobo R

    I know their is always a fudge factor with studies like these but I don’t necessarily buy the estimate that CO2 from transportation is 90% higher in 55345 then it is in 55343.

    It would be interesting to see what a more concentrated study would look like. would it be the same with a better defined gradient?

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