Do you want to reduce carbon emissions? Get started with these power The plants

Nearly 75 percent of sector’s emission comes from the worst five percent of energy producers.

It seems like the world is on fire, but also flooding. The latest report from an expert indicates that there’s little time left to prevent more serious climate change. This should prompt us to look for economic and rapid ways to reduce carbon emissions.

A paper that examines the contribution of individual power plants to global carbon dioxide emissions has recently been released. This is some good news. The study finds that many countries have facilities that emit carbon dioxide at rates well above either the national or global average. Shutting down the worst 5 percent of plants would immediately wipe out about 75 percent of the carbon emissions produced by electricity generation.

CARMA Revisited

Power generation can be described in simple terms: “renewables are good and coal is bad.” This statement can be trusted to a certain extent. It also combines all forms of power generation, from the “somewhat poor” to the “truly atrocious” into one category. The situation is much more complicated, as a range of studies have shown. Different plants can convert fossil fuels into power with different efficiency levels depending on the age. Some plants that are less efficient only come online when there is a high demand. The rest of time they remain idle and emit no emissions.

These factors interact to determine whether or not a power plant contributes significantly to a country’s emissions. We could make an efficient target list by using data from the global inventory of all power plants’ emissions and output.

We did actually have one, with emphasis on the past tense. Someone had created the Carbon Monitoring for Action Database (or CARMA) using data starting in 2009. Nearly a decade later Don Grant, David Zelinka and Stefania Mitchella of the University of Colorado Boulder have used 2018 data for an updated version of CARMA. This provides emissions data likely to be much more up-to-date.

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