Instant CARMA's gonna get you (or so they hope)

The Center for Global Development , a policy and research group out of D.C., has launched a nifty new online database that lets anyone look the CO2 emissions of some 50,000 power plants worldwide.
The database, known as Carbon Monitoring for Action, or CARMA (nice, huh?) relies on a combination of sources, including government regulators and private data sources that people in the industry pay big bucks for. Thus, it’s more timely than data the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency publishes, for example, and will be updated quarterly.
What can you do with CARMA? Well, a quick sort of the data for CO2 emission by U.S. county shows – surprise! – Harris County ranked No. 3.

county_data A lame cut-and-paste from the database. Really, it’s prettier than this.

What facilities are the U.S.’s top CO2 emitters? Look below:

WA Parish is the big coal and gas plant NRG Energy runs just south of Houston.

David Wheeler, a senior fellow at the Center, said the idea for the database came out of his work for the World Bank.
He was trying to get manufacturers in Asia, where pollution regulations were very weak, to clean up their acts. He and his group gathered the data and then came up with a color-coded way to make the data, i.e. the severity of the plants pollution, easy to understand and compare.
“We then pre-announced our findings to the factories ahead of time, gave them six months to make changes and then published them,” Wheeler said.
While the public found the data useful it turned out bankers in Indonesia were particularly interested in using the information to assess the risks of the plants and make their investing decisions appropriately. Needless to say, plants were motivated to make changes.
While CO2 is not yet a regulated emission, Wheeler hopes that the general public’s easy access to CARMA will help people understand how those emissions impact their communities.