50 “Dirtiest” U.S. Power Plants Release More Greenhouse Gases than All But 6 Nations

Thursday, September 12, 2013
Scherer Plant, the worst power plant polluter in the U.S.

The United States has some seriously “dirty” power plants that contribute more towards the problem of global warming than the vast majority of countries in the world.


A report by Environment America concluded 50 American power plants—mostly those burning coal—produce more greenhouse gases than all but six nations (China, the U.S., India, Russia, Japan and Germany).


The “50 dirtiest power plants” generated nearly 33% of the U.S. power sector’s carbon dioxide emissions in 2011, but only about 16% of its electricity. Globally, they emit more than 2% of all energy-based carbon dioxide pollution, ranking them #7—between Germany and South Korea—if they were a country.


Power plants are the largest source of greenhouse gases in the U.S., responsible for 41% of the nation’s carbon dioxide (CO2) pollution, according to the report. There are 6,000 oil, coal, nuclear, natural gas, wind, and solar electric-generating facilities in the U.S.


Of the 100 worst-polluting plants in the U.S., 98 of them are coal plants.


Power Plant Scherer (pdf) in Juliette, Georgia, was determined to be the top CO2-emitting U.S. plant, producing more than 21 million metric tons of carbon dioxide in 2011.


The report’s publishing is timely, given that the Obama administration is working on the nation’s first-ever greenhouse gas emissions regulations for power plants. The new rules could be unveiled later this month, the Christian Science Monitor reported.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

'50 Dirtiest' US Power Plants Emit More Greenhouse Gases than South Korea (by Mark Clayton, Christian Science Monitor)

America’s Dirtiest Power Plants: Their Oversized Contribution to Global Warming and What We Can Do About It (by Environment America Research & Policy Center)

Georgia Takes Top Two Spots for Worst Polluting Power Stations (by Matt Bewig, AllGov)

U.S. Power Plant Pollution Equals 450 Million Cars (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)


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