World's two fastest growing economies, China and India, have earned the dubious distinction of being home to some of the biggest polluting firms across the globe, according to a list published by Carbon Monitoring for Action (CARMA), a product of the Confronting Climate Change Initiative at the Center for Global Development, an independent think-tank located in Washington, DC.
China's Huaneng Power International (292 million tons) rates as the world's worst polluter while India's state-run National Thermal Power Corporation or NTPC (182 million tons) occupies the third position worldwide in terms of carbon dioxide (CO2) emission.
In the top ten list, Eskom (214 million tons) of South Africa has grabbed the second spot.
China's Huadian Group Corporation, China Power Investment Corporation and North China Grid Co. Ltd., all of which are supporting the blistering pace of China's economic growth, occupy fourth, fifth and ninth positions respectively.
Two U.S. power firms - Southern Co. (No.6) and American Electric Power Co. Inc. (No.7) - and Germany's two power firms - E.ON AG (No.8) and RWE AG (No.10) round up the list.
In India, 17 of the 20 biggest polluters happen to be public sector enterprises, including NTPC.
The three private sector firms among India's 20 biggest CO2 emitters include - RPG group's CESC Ltd, Aditya Birla group's Hindalco Industries and Anil Ambani group's Reliance Energy at 16th, 18th and 20th positions respectively.
Suzlon Energy, Adani Group, Larsen and Toubro, Torrent Power, Ultratech Cement Ltd, Uttar Pradesh Jal Vidyut Nigam and Tehri Hydro Development Corp are some of the firms in power generating business in India with zero CO2 emissions.
According to CARMA's massive database, which contains information on the carbon emissions of over 50,000 power plants and 4,000 power companies worldwide, Australia is the world's worst polluter per capita, producing five times as much carbon from generating power as China.
In terms of total carbon emission in a country, the US was named as the most polluting nation with 2.8 billion tons of emissions, followed by China (2.7 billion) and Russia (661 million) at No.2 and No.3 respectively. India is at No.4 with 583 million tons, while Japan occupied the fifth rank with 400 million tons.
Germany (356 million), Australia (226 million), South Africa (222 million), the UK (212 million) and South Korea (185 million) complete the top ten polluting nations list.
The world's worst pollution power plant is the coal-fired power plant operated by Taiwan Power Co in the Lung-Ching township near Taichung in Taiwan which pumps out 41.3 million tons of CO2 per year. Overall, Taiwan is ranked No.13 in the world's most polluting nations list.
According to CARMA, the power plant with the highest carbon dioxide emissions in Europe is Janschwalde in Germany with 27.4 million tons, followed by Belhatov in Poland with 25.5 million tons and Drax in the UK with emissions of 23.7 million tons.
NTPC's Vindhyachal power plant in Sidhi district of Madhya Pradesh is India's most polluting power plant emitting 29 million tons of CO2 annually. Globally it ranks as the seventh most polluting plant.
According to the report's author, David Wheeler, the study has compiled data on all firms involved in power generation - for commercial or captive use. The companies were ranked on the basis of factors including carbon emissions, energy generated, intensity, and usage of fossil, hydro, nuclear and other renewable sources.
Power stations account for about one-quarter of total emissions of CO2 and are the planet's most concentrated source of greenhouse gases - one of the main factors in global warming - producing nearly 10 billion tons of CO2 per year.
CARMA has been set up to help the drive towards less carbon-intensive power generation and reducing global warming which will hit poor people in developing countries the hardest. CARMA makes information about power-related CO2 emissions transparent to people throughout the world, Wheeler said.
Information leads to action. We know that this works for other forms of pollution and we believe it can work for greenhouse gas emissions, too, he said.
We expect that institutional and private investors, insurers, lenders, environmental and consumer groups and individual activists will use the CARMA data to encourage power companies to burn less coal and oil and to shift to renewable power sources, such as wind and solar, Wheeler said.
On Monday, Australia's new prime minister, Kevin Rudd, took the oath of office and immediately signed documents to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, ending his country's long-held opposition to the global climate agreement.
The US ranked second with eight tons of carbon per head - 16 times more than that produced by India. The US is now be the only developed nation not to ratify the Kyoto Protocol which sets binding limits on developed countries to curb the carbon emissions blamed for global warming.
Developing nations like China and India are not bound by any targets.
About 190 nations met in Bali on Monday and opened negotiations on new carbon emission targets for beyond 2012.