Home / Reports / 2023 State of the Union / Environment


After falling in 2021, global temperatures rose in 2022 and were higher than any recorded year prior to 2015.

Last year’s average global temperature was 0.86 °C (1.55 °F) warmer than the 20th-century average.


Nine states had unusually high average temperatures in 2022 compared to their 20th-century averages.

Massachussetts was the hottest compared to 20th-century norms; its average temperature in 2022 was 50.3 °F, compared to 46.9 °F from 1901 to 2000. Explore Climate in the United States for more county-level temperature and precipitation data.


The US experienced 18 separate billion-dollar weather and climate disasters last year.

Hurricane Ian was 2022’s most expensive weather event, costing about $113 billion. After adjusting the costs of disasters for inflation, 2022 is tied for the third-highest number of billion-dollar events in a single year and marks the eighth year in a row of 10 or more billion-dollar disasters.


Wildfires burned 7.6 million acres in 2022.

It was the third consecutive year that wildfires burned more than twice the number of acres as the 1990s average.


The nation’s air quality has improved since 1980, but quality varies widely by location.

The US average Air Quality Index (AQI) improved from 60 in 1980 to 40 in 2021. The EPA classifies an AQI of under 50 as “good,” between 50 and 100 as “moderate,” and over 100 as “unhealthy.” Hawaii had 2021’s best average air quality with an AQI of 19. California had the worst air quality with an AQI of 56.


The average American generated 4.9 pounds of trash per day in 2018.

Forty-five percent of trash was paper and paperboard or food waste. Thirty-two percent of trash was recycled or composted.


The federal government spent $31.2 billion on the environment and natural resources in FY 2022.

After adjusting for inflation, this was the lowest spending since 2005. Environment and natural resources accounted for about 0.5% of 2022’s federal budget.

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