Green power plants are often touted as the green alternative to fossil fuels, but the reality is they are actually the dirty ones.
A new study from the University of Utah shows that green power plants generate more greenhouse gases than coal-fired power plants, while also having higher rates of air pollution.
The study, published in the journal Atmospheric Environment, looked at a series of environmental data for all the countries that produce electricity.
It found that the green power sector generates nearly 5.4 million tons of CO2 emissions per year, or 1.3 percent of the global total.
The clean power sector only emits about 3.4 percent of this amount.
In comparison, the CO2 produced by fossil fuels comes out to about 15 million tons per year.
It’s not all green power, however.
While the clean power industry does produce CO2, the clean-power sector also produces methane gas, which is a greenhouse gas.
Methane is also a potent greenhouse gas, with a surface temperature of about 1,500 degrees Fahrenheit, and can be found in soils, groundwater and lakes.
While methane emissions are typically less in countries that use renewable energy, a number of countries, including Australia and Brazil, are now taking steps to reduce emissions.
It is, however, not all carbon-neutral, and the Clean Power Plan, which President Donald Trump signed into law in April, is not the only major climate change regulation that is not carbon neutral.
The EPA’s plan is still only one of many measures that could be put in place to help reduce emissions, but it is an important one that is already working.
Top image credit: Flickr/Vincent Beaudoin, CC-BY-SA.