The biggest polluter of the planet is coal-fired electricity generation, according to a new report released by the World Resources Institute.
The report, titled Coal: The Biggest Polluter of Planet Earth, found that in 2010, coal plants emitted 3.9 billion tons of CO2 equivalent per year, or 6 percent of the world’s total CO2 emissions.
By comparison, the CO2 that coal emits in the US is about the same as all the cars, trucks, planes and ships in the world combined.
The report found that the US alone is responsible for about a quarter of the total CO 2 emissions in the country.
The US is also the largest CO2 emitter of thermal coal, which emits a higher amount of carbon dioxide than natural gas, and the largest source of carbon pollution from natural gas.
The WRI report, released Tuesday, said the US was responsible for 2.2 billion tons more CO2 pollution than China.
The US coal industry is largely owned by big coal companies, including Enron and ConocoPhillips, which have been accused of rigging bids and manipulating prices.
In its report, WRI said coal’s biggest problem was the “unreasonable” and “unrealistic” cost of power.
“Cost is a significant part of the problem, and we think that is one of the major reasons that the industry is not making the investment necessary to reduce emissions,” the report said.
WRI said that the cost of carbon emissions from coal plants has soared in recent years, as coal plants have become increasingly efficient.
But the report noted that coal power plants are also polluting the air and water with methane, a potent greenhouse gas, because of their emissions.
As a result, the WRI found, “more than 30 percent of all US power plants have significant emissions of methane.”
“The methane emissions of natural gas power plants in the United States are far more than that of coal power,” the WPI said.
“If methane emissions are allowed to continue unchecked, it is estimated that over the next 50 years, coal power plant emissions will be nearly two-thirds higher than natural-gas power plants.”