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Most of the power sector’s emissions come from a small minority of plants

Ars Technica – Shutting down the worst 5% would cut electricity’s carbon emissions by 75%. “…It should surprise nobody that all the worst offenders are coal plants. But the distribution of the highest polluting plants might include a bit of the unexpected. For example, despite its reputation as the home of coal, China only has a single plant in the top-10 worst (bottom-10?). In contrast, South Korea has three on the list, and India has two. In general, China doesn’t have many plants that stand out as exceptionally bad, in part because so many of its plants were built around the same time, during a giant boom in industrialization. As such, there’s not much variance from plant to plant when it comes to efficiency. In contrast, countries like Germany, Indonesia, Russia, and the US all see a lot of variance, so they’re likely to have some highly inefficient plants that are outliers. Put a different way, the authors looked at how much of a country’s pollution was produced by the worst 5 percent when all of the country’s power plants were ranked by carbon emissions. In China, the worst 5 percent accounted for roughly a quarter of the country’s total emissions. In the US, the worst 5 percent of plants produced about 75 percent of the power sector’s carbon emissions. South Korea had similar numbers, while Australia, Germany, and Japan all saw their worst 5 percent of plants account for roughly 90 percent of the carbon emissions from their power sector…”

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