The Anthropocene

Reducing CO₂ emissions by targeting the world’s hyper-polluting power plants

Maps of fossil-fueled power plants’ CO2 emissions.

  • Taller spikes indicate that plants emit CO2 at higher levels.
  • Colors signify plants’ primary fuels (blue = coal, yellow = natural gas, black = oil).
  • Plants with red spikes are the world’s ten biggest polluters (all of which rely primarily on coal).

Findings suggest that instead of relying on sweeping environmental initiatives, substantial environmental progress can be made through selectively targeting nations’ hyper-polluters—the worst-of-the-worst—that are responsible for the lion’s share of their carbon pollution. As the fossil-fuel-burning energy infrastructure continues to expand and the urgency of combating climate change grows, nations will likely need to consider more expedient strategies of this sort.