Thursday, November 22, 2007

Counting carbon

I just encountered a neat, recently-launched site that tracks the carbon emissions and electricity production of over 50,000 powerplants worldwide. The site, carma.org (Carbon Monitoring for Action) is impressively comprehensive and easy to navigate, allowing users to "toggle" and analyze data from a variety of different angles (by region, by zip code, power plant, power company, etc.). Among other features, they list the five highest CO2 emitting power companies in the world, the five largest power producing plants in the world.
In short, this site looks usefel site for activists, citizens, and the simply curious.
The site has two minor shortcomings, however: first, it fails to list how each plant generates power. Sure, I can search Google or Wikipedia to find that Itaipu is an enormous hydroelectric plant,* but it'd be nice if CARMA provided that information right on the plant pages. Secondly, the site's color-coded scheme provides readers with some sense of how much a lot of CO2 exactly is,  but as a laymen, I'd like a stronger frame of reference to help me understand, say, how much carbon my local power plant emits in relative terms.
Here's CARMA's blog.

* The remarkable Itaipu supplies Paraguay with over 90% of its power, and it provided the inspiration for a work of music by Philip Glass.

Hat tip: mongabay.com