North America’s Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) has released data on emissions from more than 1000 individual fossil-fired plants in Canada, Mexico and the USA. T

The report, North American Power Plant Air Emissions, finds that a small proportion of plants emit a significant proportion of the SOx and NOx, mercury and carbon dioxide total emissions in North America.

“Site by site, coal-fired power plants are the dominant source of harmful air emissions from the electricity sector …” says William Kennedy, executive director of the CEC. Using data from 2002, the report finds that while coal combustion accounts for only

44 % of generation on the continent, it is responsible for 86 % of total sulphur dioxide emissions from the sector and 90 % of NOx. The vast majority of mercury emissions from generation also come from coal combustion. However, the report also reveals large variations in individual plant performance with the biggest sources generally clustered in the Midwestern and southeastern United States, along with some large oil and coal-fired plants in Mexico. Copies of the report, which is a first step towards a shared emissions inventory for North America, are available online at:

http://www.cec.org/