On January 11, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released an interactive online map that identifies sources of major greenhouse gas (GHG) emitters in the United States, including chemical factories, paper mills, and power plants. The data, current through 2010, covers 80 percent of U.S. GHG emitters from large industries. Using the interactive map to compile data on power plants, researchers found that 20 coal-fired plants in 15 states account for the majority of the greenhouse gas emissions, including one power plant in Georgia that released 23 million metric tons of carbon dioxide in 2010. When the emissions from the top ten power plants in the U.S. are combined, they contributed 187.3 million metric tons of GHG emissions in 2010, equivalent to the average emissions of 36 million cars.
Environmental groups are using the new online tool to highlight local and national utilities that have the worst emissions, and applaud the map as a major accomplishment that can educate government officials and members of the public about local sources of pollution. David Doniger, policy director for Climate and Clean Air at the Natural Resources Defense Council, said, “[the EPA database] means that every high school student or local reporter can see who the biggest carbon polluters are in his or her own backyard. . . Carbon pollution and climate change are very abstract when you’re dealing with national or international data. This brings it home.”
For additional information see: New York Times, Climate Progress, Energy Central
To view the map, see: EPA