The government owns this.

JHPThe government owns this.

The Political Economy Research Institute published this list of greenhouse gas emitters. It’s based on the 2011 data from the EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program. The three top polluters on the list are power companies — American Electric Power, Duke Energy Corp., and Southern Co.

The fourth is the U.S. government, responsible for more than 1 entire percent of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Part of the reason the government ranks so high is that it’s also a power company. Top on the list of its polluting properties is the TVA’s Paradise Fossil plant, a coal-fired power plant. And the government is trying to clean up its act, it really is:

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In support of recent environmental agreements and its vision of being one of the nation’s leading providers of low-cost and cleaner energy by 2020, TVA will upgrade the performance of the scrubbers on Paradise units 1 and 2 by Dec. 31, 2012. These scrubbers were originally installed in the early 1980s.

The TVA spent $500 million on that project and is planning to do more work in 2016. But that’s just one power plant. And, you know, those energy-sucking data centers holding all the metadata on phone calls don’t power themselves.

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(Hat tip: Jamie Fuller)