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Publication Title | CARMA Revisited: An Updated Database of Carbon Dioxide Emissions from Power Plants Worldwide

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CARMA Revisited: An Updated Database of Carbon Dioxide Emissions from Power Plants Worldwide

Kevin Ummel

Abstract

The Carbon Monitoring for Action (CARMA) database provides information about the carbon dioxide emissions, electricity production, corporate ownership, and location of more than 60,000 power plants in over 200 countries. Originally launched in 2007, CARMA is provided freely to the public at www.carma.

org and remains the only comprehensive data source of its kind. This paper documents the methodology underpinning CARMA v3.0, released in July, 2012. Comparison of CARMA model output with reported data highlights the general dif culty of precisely predicting annual electricity generation for a given plant and year. Estimating the rate at which a plant emits CO2 (per unit of electricity generated) generally faces fewer obstacles. Ultimately, greater disclosure of plant-speci c data is needed to overcome these limitations, particularly in major emitting countries like China, Russia, and Japan. For any given plant in CARMA v3.0, it is estimated that the reported value is within 20 percent of the actual value in 85 percent of cases for CO2 intensity, 75 percent for annual CO2 emissions, and 45 percent for annual electricity generation. CARMA’s prediction models are shown to offer signi cantly better estimates than more naïve approaches to estimating plant-speci c performance.

CARMA v3.0 also includes a signi cant upgrade in the quantity and quality of geographic data, including standardized geopolitical information for nearly all facilities. High-precision coordinates are now available for 10 percent of plants (covering 30% of global CO2 emissions) and approximate coordinates are available for an additional 70 percent of facilities. The new version also lays the technical groundwork for future expansion to green house gases other than CO2, offering potential improvement in continental-scale modeling of the environmental and health consequences of conventional pollutants.

JEL Codes: Q50, Q53, Q54, Q55

Keywords: CARMA, carbon monitoring, greenhouse gases, global warming.

www.cgdev.org

Working Paper 304 August 2012

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