Search CARMA by country, state, province, county, metro area, city, power company,
power plant, or zip code.

CARMA 101: Quick Tips to Get You Started


We set out to make CARMA.org an intuitive and easy-to-use (dare we say fun?) source of information. Although the database behind CARMA is massive, all of the information can be searched, sorted, parsed, and downloaded with just a few clicks or keystrokes. Here are 5 quick tips on how to do just that, ranging from the basics to the advanced.

1) Play with the maps: Every map in CARMA contains interactive, color-coded icons. Click on them to see basic information about the entity in question and a link to a more detailed page. The maps on the Homepage or the Plant, Company, and Region overview pages are a great place to start browsing.

2) Start close to home: Dive into CARMA by searching for your hometown or place of residence. Use the Search Box at the top of any page to enter the name. If nothing comes up, try a larger town nearby. U.S. residents can also search by zip code to identify the company providing their power.

3) Dig Deeper: CARMA’s powerful tool for slicing and dicing the data is known as Dig Deeper, and it can be accessed from almost any page. Once there, you can select from nested lists to “dig” into the data. To see all power plants in the United States, for example, select: By Country => United States => View all power plants. The resulting list (over 9,000 plants) can be sorted any way you like by clicking on the column headings. Clicking the Toggle Data button on the left side will reveal all available data for 2000, 2007, and the future.

4) Find planned plants: Once you’re in Dig Deeper, you’ll notice toggle buttons for Past, Present, and Future in the top-right corner. If you select Future, your list will be sorted by power and CO2 emissions figures for — you guessed it — the future. This will often reveal “planned” plants that are not yet in operation. They are clearly identified by the word “Planned” after the plant’s name.

5) Check out the bottom line: Nearly any serious attempt to limit greenhouse gas emissions will require that a price be assigned to carbon — be it through traditional taxes or cap-and-trade programs. Some countries already have such systems in place, and a number of bills currently in the U.S. Congress would have similar effects. Once carbon is priced, carbon-intensive companies will face an added cost that cleaner competitors will not — a cost that could impact their financial bottom line. CARMA includes links to financial information for hundreds of companies that allow you to do the math for yourself. For example, if you assume a relatively low carbon charge of $10 per ton of CO2, then a company emitting 10 million tons would face an effective “carbon bill” of $100 million. Clicking on a company’s stock symbol in CARMA allows you compare this potential bill against a company’s current profits. Like much of the data in CARMA, the results are often startling.

And, of course, all of the data you come across in CARMA can be freely downloaded for further analysis. Links on the right side of many pages and at the bottom of Dig Deeper let you download a data file that can opened in Excel or other statistical programs. If you have any problems or questions, let us know.

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Reader Comments

Is there any information on the power plant at the CFS Alert on Ellesmere Island?

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I heard your segment on NPR and I think this is a great way to use real data to inform people on climate change. Thanks for putting this together!

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An appropriate acronym, “Carma”: Karma for civilization. With knowledge about our accumulative actions effects on our world, it seems probable that people will make small adjustments in the way they do things, to help the big picture some. Energy is the lifeblood of our high-tech civilization. Cheap abundant fossil fuel got us going; now is the time for more enduring power source preparations; and instead of burning petrochemicals for energy, saving them for hydrocarbon material uses in the future.

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Great initiative! Just the kind of thing we’re thinking about here in NSW Australia.

I love the map-based data access (but then I would – see our website linked from my name above). Nice and clear, and snappy response. Also good to focus straight in on the best and worst. And good to see each page has a unique and simple URL.

Feature wishlist:
- Bar graphs comparing the power stations in the currently selected region (could optional show past/present/future for each).
- Resize/reshape map – the long flat map is good for worldwide view, but bad as soon as you zoom in.
- A pity your licences mean you can’t provide even the type of plant – free the data, I say!
- What does “future” mean in your figures? Need a note explaining this.
- Remove the blank line at the start of your XML export, which renders the file invalid (according to my ancient copy of XML Spy)
- Consider supporting OGC Web Feature Service access so we and others could plonk your data straight into our web-based atlas or desktop GIS. I’d be happy to discuss this more, and possibly work together.
- It would be great to include local climate action groups on the map or linked on the page. (But where to access this data for the world…)
- Finally, remember to update cgdev.org with a link to the new site! (I had to guess the URL)

Thanks again!

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Type your comment here.
Australia comes out really badly on this assessment but the reason is that it doesn’t have any nuclear power plants. What this assessment is doing is promoting nuclear power. A more useful system would compare like with like – the different types of power plants in each country compared with those types of power plants in other countries.

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Fantastic work! This is the best unexpurgated summary of the planets carbon polluters I have seen. What a resource for lobbying! Congratulations!
Adelaide, Australia.

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The hydroelectric plants don’t produce carbon but those in warm climates do produce considerable amounts of methane, which is a far more potent greenhouse gas. Labeling them as green is very misleading. Even if you say they don’t produce carbon dioxide, in reality the methane eventually oxidizes and becomes water and carbon dioxide. How about adding a disclaimer so as not to perpetuate the misperception that hydroelectric power is environmentally-friendly?

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An amazing database. Comprehensive and easy to use. I would like to see you classify power plants with additional search criteria. Particularly those with zero intensification. It will be helpful to track the proliferation of the solutions, i.e. solar, wind, hydro, biomass etc.

Congratulations!

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Thank You for a good job
congratulations

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Great site, guys.

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[...] of the world, see how much CO2 they emit, and how they rank relative to other plants. Here are some tips to get you started using the site. Fascinating [...]

Great job! One more piece of data I’d really like to see worked in at the country level is population, and the ability to show per-capita levels and intensities.
Also I’ll section the motion for more graphical displays of numerical values in the tables – e.g. a fixed-width bar graph of % from each class of sources would increase the impact.

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Carma, now all I need to do is figure out how to implement it for something useful.

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