Focus on extreme polluters

Featured Faculty:

Wesley Longhofer
Goizueta Foundation Term Associate Professor of Organization & Management; Executive Academic Director, Business & Society Institute

In recent years, several scholars have recommended that countries reduce their energy-related CO2 emissions by setting carbon intensity targets for their electricity generating plants. Other research suggests that countries could substantially cut their emissions simply by focusing on lowering the carbon emissions of the most extreme polluters. Using a unique international data source on power plants, researchers Don Grant (U. Colorado); Wesley Longhofer, assistant professor of organization and management; and Andrew Jorgenson (U. Utah) inform this issue by analyzing the distribution of CO2 emissions and intensities within the electricity sectors of 20 countries. They find that the dirtiest 5 percent of power plants are responsible for huge shares of their sectors’ total emissions, noting that “if these plants continued generating the same amount of electricity but met particular intensity targets, the world’s total electricity-based CO2 emissions could be reduced by as much as 44 percent.”