A carbon dioxide inventory project lead by Purdue University has identified the top emitting counties in the United States Named after the Roman god of fire, Vulcan quantifies all of the CO2 that results from the burning of fossil fuels. It tracks the hourly output of factories, power plants, roadways, neighborhoods, and commercial districts.

Every region of the United States made an appearance in the list of top twenty CO2 emitting counties. Topping the charts is Harris County, Tex (home of Houston) at number 1, Los Angeles County, Calif at number 2, and Cook County, Ill (home of Chicago) at number 3.

The current ranking is based on information from 2002, but the Vulcan system will soon acquire more current information.

“It is interesting that Harris, Texas is on the list because of industrial emissions, but the second highest CO2 emitting county, Los Angeles, California, is on the list because of automobile emissions,” says Kevin Gurney, assistant professor of earth and atmospheric science at Purdue and leader of the project. “So it’s not just cars, and it’s not just factories, that are emitting the carbon dioxide, but a combination of different things.”

The complete list can be found on the Vulcan Web site.