Document Type

Article

Publication Date

7-1-2016

Publication Title

Scientific Reports

ISSN

2045-2322

Volume

6

First Page

28661

Last Page

28661

DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/srep28661

PubMed ID

27363677

Abstract

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.

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