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US Power Plants Dirty the World More Than Most

Sep 20, 2014 05:23 PM EDT

A new report is ranking America's power plants as some of the worst polluters the world has seen, sullying our air with more carbon emissions that the industries of Russia, India, and Japan combined. 

According to the report released by the Environment America Research and Policy Center, only China remains in the lead with emissions, but also boasts significantly cleaner individual power plants, compared to an apparently outdated US industry.

"America's dirtiest power plants are the elephant in the room when it comes to global warming," Julian Boggs, the Global Warming Program Director with Environment America Research & Policy Center said in a recent statement.

Boggs and his staff recently announced the release of two reports, one detailing the dirtiest power plants in the US, and a second showing how heavily these facilities are contributing to net greenhouse gas emission and global climate change.

 "If we want a cleaner, safer future for our kids, we can't afford to ignore power plants' oversized contribution to global warming," he said.

These reports come as the Obama administration readies a new set of standards to tackle global warming with the Clean Power Plan - intended to eliminate as much carbon pollution as the entire country of Canada produced in 2012.

And surprisingly, that's quite a lot. According to the second report, America's Dirtiest Power Plants: Polluters on a Global Scale, released just this past Friday, Canada stands as the world's eighth largest emitter of greenhouse gasses.

And it is clear something should be done. The report details how in 2012 alone, the 50 dirtiest U.S. power plants alone - representing less than 1 percent of all US power plants - produced as much pollution as the nation of South Korea (the world's seventh leading emitter of greenhouse gases).

Worse, all US power plants combined produced more than six percent all greenhouse gasses (manmade or otherwise) emitted that year.

Both reports add that while the Clean Power Plan will likely not make the US any less of one of the world's leading emitters of greenhouse gasses, it will certainly have a significant impact on the state of our planet, and that should be more than enough reason to take action.

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