by Jordan Schneider
Global warming is one of the most profound threats of our time, and we’re already starting to feel the effects—especially when it comes to the weather. From Hurricane Sandy to devastating droughts and deadly heat waves, extreme weather events threaten our safety, our health and our environment. Scientists predict things will only get worse for future generations unless we cut the dangerous global warming pollution that is fueling the problem.
Meeting the challenge of curbing worldwide global warming emissions may seem overwhelming, but the United States and the world can make a major down-payment toward those emission reductions by cleaning up our biggest sources of pollution. In the United States, that means cutting carbon dioxide pollution from power plants.
In our new report, America’s Dirtiest Power Plants, we highlight the massive and disproportionate share of global warming pollution emitted by dirty U.S. power plants—both on a national and worldwide scale. For example, we found that if our 50 dirtiest power plants were an independent nation, they would be the seventh-largest emitter of carbon dioxide pollution in the world. The report also examines the emissions of the nation’s largest polluter, the top 10 polluters, and the top 100 polluters—and draws real-world comparisons for each that illustrate their staggering contribution to global warming. It also includes detailed appendices on the five largest polluters in each state and their estimated share of both power-sector and statewide emissions.
This report demonstrates that limiting carbon pollution from U.S. power plants—both by prohibiting construction of a new generation of dirty power plants and placing strict pollution standards on existing plants—is one of the best opportunities available to the United States to make meaningful emissions reductions that will help forestall the worst impacts of global warming.