The construction of a new wave of coal plants designed to burn Europe’s reserves of lignite could scupper the EU’s efforts to curb climate change, campaigners have warned.
In a new analysis, researchers from Greenpeace say the expansion of lignite mining could add 118 million tonnes of carbon dioxide to Europe’s annual emissions. This is roughly equivalent to half of Spain’s entire output in 2012.
Lignite – also known as brown coal – is more polluting and less efficient than conventional coal.
The use of the dirty fuel fell between 1990 and 2010, as former Soviet nations closed aging lignite plants. But now, demand is forecast to rise by as much as 5.4% by 2020.
Lignite fuelled power stations currently pump out 10% of the EU’s total CO2 emissions, while 19 new plants are at various stages of planning, approval and construction across the continent.
Over their average 40-year lifespan, these new plants alone could emit nearly 5 billion tonnes of carbon.
Greenpeace warn that these plants would lock in lignite consumption for decades, and undermine the EU’s efforts to cut carbon emissions by 80-95% by 2050.
“The expansion of lignite mining in Europe is today the most serious symptom of the continent’s chronic addiction to dangerous fossil fuels, and a massive threat to its efforts to tackle climate change,” Greenpeace energy analyst Jimmy Aldridge told the Guardian.
“The companies involved will continue for as long as they can – we need our political leaders to act in order to stop this situation from getting worse.”
Germany is currently the biggest consumer of lignite in Europe, while Poland has the biggest expansion plans. If both nations burn as much lignite as expected, they will use up half of their respective carbon budgets for 2020-2050, Greenpeace said.
Last week, thousands of protestors gathered in Lusatia, on the border between Germany and Poland.
Some 7,500 people formed a human chain to protest against a rumoured expansion of open cast lignite mining in the area – plans that would require the demolition of local villages.
Photo: Greenpeace Polska via Flickr
Like our Facebook Page
Can You Use Your PC In an Eco-Friendly Manner?
How Pain Management Hurts the Environment, and What You Can Do to Help
4 Countries That Have Banned Single-Use Plastic
What Is Your Carbon Footprint and How Can You Reduce it?
How Business Leaders Can Positively Impact Water Scarcity
Plant-Based Protein Coffee is Eco-Friendly & Healthy
Eco-Friendly Restaurants That Are Bringing the Outside Inside
5 Environmental Benefits of Custom Manufacturing
How to Reduce the Carbon Footprint of Your Office
Benefits of Starting an Eco-Friendly eCommerce Business
Brian Sheth and Sheth Sangreal Foundation Donate $15 Million to Global Wildlife Conservation
Eco-Friendly Gardeners Can Make Compost from Organic Waste
8 Great Tips to Find an Eco-Conscious Moving Company
Can Employers Help the Planet with Work from Home Policies?
Creating a Green Basement Environment for a Healthier Home
Switching to an Electric Car to Help the Environment? Here’s How to Find the Cheapest Insurance
More People Are Practicing Eco-Conscious Lawn-Care
Choosing the Best Air Filter as Pollution Levels Worsen
9 Tips to Write Stellar Papers as an Environmental Science Major
Why You Need to Know These Hard Facts About Ethical Investing
- Energy3 months ago
How To Choose the Right Solar Inverter for Your Home?
- Energy3 months ago
How to Choose the Best Solar Panel for Your Home
- Environment10 months ago
Importance of Using a Water Purifier in an Area with High Pollution
- Environment3 months ago
Reduce Industry Footprints with Sustainable Material Swaps