(g)Ass Holes

Why your green urban lifestyle is cancelled out by some tool-bag driving a Denali in the Suburbs. Researchers at UC Berkeley Chris M. Jones & Danial Kammen published a study proving what most of us already knew: suburbs are the worst.

Hi Chris and Danial,

I came across your study on Grist.org and spent at least an hour playing with your interactive carbon footprint maps. I don’t subscribe to the Journal of Science and Environmental Technology, but it looks like the study confirms what we knew all along: Suburbs are the root of all evil.

Dallas, and Texas in general, is a place known for it’s sprawl. Land is cheap and gas is even cheaper so the trend has been to build out, not up. I’m proud to say that my zip code of 75243 is one of the Metroplex’s less egregious offenders with a Household Carbon Footprint of 37.8 metric tons (a nice light green color). Out of curiosity and boredom, I tried to find who the biggest “gass-holes” in Texas are and found nowhere worse than South Lake (76092). Please correct me if there is any place worse in Texas.

I’m thinking about doing a follow-up study that will attempt to prove a direct correlation between a household’s carbon footprint and scumbaggery. Hypothesis: the higher the carbon footprint, the more self-entitled and morally bankrupt the household, including but not limited to (A) living in an ostentatious house surrounded by nearly identical, equally excessive houses (B) equipping everyone of driving age with a Chevy Tahoe XL (C) believing that anything for sale at the mall or which comes in a flat-pack box is better than the stuff at Salvation Army (D) doesn’t believe in global warming or just doesn’t care. I’ll need to quantify these traits and distill them into applicable data but I can do it (in the name of science).

With that out of the way (whew), I’d love to know which zip codes had the lowest and highest carbon footprint per household in an urban/suburban area in Texas. I’m also interested in the median incomes of these highest/lowest zip codes. Because when you can’t afford to keep your house at 72 degrees year round, you’re not trying to be “green”, you’re just uncomfortable.

Thank you for your time.

Take a look at the interactive map (linked above) and leave a comment with your zip code and C02 produced.

Who will be the greenest? Who will be the gass-hole? 


Hi Hayden,

Glad you found the study, and I’ve attached the paper itself.  The maps we put online do open the door to these types of studies .. and you’d be welcome.  You can find high carbon cities by scanning to the darkest red, and then moving the cursor to them.
Suburbs are where we see more emissions, yes, but it is not really that ‘suburbs are bad, urban cores are good’, but more an issue of how we design these larger metropolitan regions needs to change.  
Practices such a convention pricing, defining smart growth corridors, and building in suburban-serving mass transit are just starting points in what could be a new process.  
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3 thoughts on “(g)Ass Holes

  1. Bob Robinett says:

    Richardson Texas 69.8 metric tons

  2. JZ says:

    92116 (Normal Heights, San Diego CA) – 33.8

  3. Katrina S. says:

    98102 (Seattle, WA) at 32 even

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