Past research on the disproportionality of pollution suggests a small subset of a sector's facilities often produces the lion's share of toxic emissions. Here we extend this idea to the world's electricity sectors by calculating national-level disproportionality Gini coefficients for plant-level carbon emissions in 161 nations based on data from 19,941 fossil-fuel burning power plants. We also evaluate if disproportionalities in plant-level emissions are associated with increased national carbon emissions from fossil-fuel based electricity production, while accounting for other well-established human drivers of greenhouse gas emissions. Results suggest that one potential pathway to decreasing nations' greenhouse gas emissions could involve reducing disproportionality among fossil-fuel power plants by targeting those plants in the upper end of the distribution that burn fuels more inefficiently to produce electricity.
Jorgenson, Andrew; Longhofer, Wesley; and Grant, Don, "Disproportionality in Power Plants' Carbon Emissions: A Cross-National Study." (2016). Sociology Faculty Contributions. 7.