It's a distinction most governments would probably be glad to do without: A new report published by Kevin Gurney, an assistant professor at Purdue University and the leader of Vulcan, a carbon dioxide inventory project, has ranked the 20 worst emitting counties in the U.S. Not surprisingly, the top 3 counties included the cities of Houston and - wait for it - Los Angeles. Of note was the fact that most regions of the United States were represented in the ranking - only the Pacific Northwest seems to have avoided this fate. The Vulcan system, which drew emissions information from 2002 to create the list, tracks the carbon dioxide emitted from the burning of fossil fuels and the hourly outputs at the level of individual communities and factories. The system is the result of a 3-year project funded by NASA and the DOE under the North American Carbon Program.
The data is freely available to download from its website; smaller data chunks - broken down by emission category (industrial, transportation, fuel type, etc) - are available on a geographic basis. Oh, and if you're wondering, Los Angeles' single largest source of emissions: its cars (almost all 18.595 million tons of it each year).