CARMA rates CO2 emissions of energy generation

Thanks to my good friend Etienne Schneider, I discovered a very interesting tool that rates the CO2 emissions due to the energy sector worldwide.

CARMA (CArbon Monitoring for Action) provides reliable data on 50,000 plants and 4,000 energy companies. All this enable us to see which countries are the most polluting.

CARMA is “produced and financed by the Confronting Climate Change Initiative at the Center for Global Development, an independent and non-partisan think tank.”

According to its website :

The objective of is to equip individuals with the information they need to forge a cleaner, low-carbon future. By providing complete information for both clean and dirty power producers, CARMA hopes to influence the opinions and decisions of consumers, investors, shareholders, managers, workers, activists, and policymakers. CARMA builds on experience with public information disclosure techniques that have proven successful in reducing traditional pollutants.


CARMA also aggregates data on individual plants to the level of operating companies, parent corporations, and several geographic entities (continents, countries, states/provinces, and cities worldwide, with additional reports for U.S. metro areas, congressional districts, and counties). The database is updated quarterly to reflect changes in ownership, construction, renovation, planned expansions, and plant retirements. CARMA is meant to be a repository of the best available information on power sector carbon emissions. Our policy is to correct any errors or omissions if suggested revisions are verified by an independent third party.

As you sure can imagine, CARMA is a great indicator on how carbon intensive the electricity generation is in each country. By having a look at the map below, you will be able to see where are the most polluting power plants.

The most polluting large countries are the United States ( electricity is generated via fossil 67 percent ; hydro 7 percent and nuclear 20 percent) ; China (fossil 80, hydro 18 and nuclear 2) ; Russia (fossil 67, hydro 18, nuclear 14) ; India (fossil 75, hydro 18, nuclear 3) ; Japan (fossil 34, hydro 8 and nuclear 28) and finally Germany with fossil 62, hydro 3 and nuclear 25.

The next most emitting countries are Australia, South Africa, the United Kingdom and South Korea.

At the other end of the scale, we find France in a very good position alongside with Brazil, Sweden or Switzerland. The cleanest of these countries is Switzerland as it uses only one percent of fossil fuel ; 56 hydro power, and nuclear 40 percent.

Then comes Sweden, with 7 percent fossil fuels, 42 hydro and 40 nuclear. Brazil has 6 percent fossil fuels, 84 percent hydro and 2 percent nuclear. France, has 11 percent fossil fuels, 9 percent hydro and an impressive 76 percent nuclear.

As we can see with all the data, to have a greenhouse gases-free electricity requires to rely massively hydro and nuclear.

Coal-fired plants are a huge threat for climate and this brought me to have a look at the clean alternatives to coal and also at the carbon dioxide emissions by energy sources [Fr]. I hope you will find both articles interesting.

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