Globally, power generation emits nearly 10 billion tons of CO2 per year. The United States accounts for approximately 25% (2.8 billion tons) of that total.

So reports CARMA (Carbon Monitoring for Action), a huge new database compiled by the Center for Global Development (CGB), an independent policy and research organizition. Researchers from CGB constructed the database, which tracks the emissions from 50,000 power plants worldwide to help speed the shift to less carbon-intensive power generation.

Among the largest CO2 emitters are Australians, producing more than 11 tons of power sector CO2 per person every year. The United States produces more than 9 tons per person.

The database also ranks the 4,000 electric power companies in the world and show which are the biggest carbon polluters.

One surprise for the researchers was that it is not the rich nations of the world that are the worst offenders, but rapidly emerging economies that have huge coal-fired plants. Low-carbon power comes mostly from nuclear and hydro plants, which do not emit CO2, but do come with their own sets of problems.

David Wheeler, a senior fellow at CGB, says, "We expect that instituional and private investors, insuresrs, lenders, environmental and consumer groups andindividual activists will use CARMA data to encourage power companies to burn less coal and oil and to shift to renewable power sources."

The CARMA database is available at