The US power industry is predicted to discharge 7.7 million t of sulphur dioxide into the atmosphere in 2000, more than 20 per cent of total global emissions projected for that year, according to a recent report. The report, from McIlvaine Co, puts the USA ahead of China, which will emit 7.6 million t in 2000, and Russia which is predicted to emit 6.2 million t.

US performance does not compare well with that of other industrialized nations. Its output will be 21 times that of Germany and 42 times that of Japan. Both the latter have invested heavily in flue gas desulphurization systems.

The US is expected to lead the world in the number of plants without flue gas desulphurization in 2000, with 700 generating units and close to 220 000MWe of capacity.

The US has set itself a target of reducing emissions to 8 million t by 2000. This can be achieved without investing in desulphurization equipment, by switching to low sulphur coal. By contrast China has set itself an official target of holding emissions at 5 million t and Russian emissions are not rising.

In terms of t/MWe of installed capacity, Russia is the heaviest polluter, with 87t/MWe followed by India and the UK on 65t/MWe and China with 61t/MWe. Both Germany and Japan emit 7t/MWe, the report says.