UK and Germany biggest coal polluters in the EU



The UK and Germany top the list of the biggest coal polluters in the EU, with nine of the dirtiest power plants each, according to research. The report argues that unless action is taken, the EU’s target for cutting greenhouse gas emissions could be at risk.

The report – Europe’s Dirty 30 – has been released by CAN Europe, WWF, the European Environment Bureau (EEB), the Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) and Climate Alliance Germany.

The report found the top 30 polluting coal power plants in the EU and ranks them according to their total CO2 emissions in 2013. The UK and Germany rank joint first, with nine of these power plants apiece.

In the UK, the nine coal power plants produced just under a third of the national electricity supply last year, but contributed to almost two thirds of carbon emissions from the power sector. The report adds that in the UK coal plants often have low efficiency because the majority were built in the 60s and 70s.

Across the bloc coal use, and the associated emissions, is rising, the report adds. This is linked to the relatively low price of coal when compared to gas.

Christian Schaible, senior policy officer of industrial production at EEB, said, “Europe’s coal addiction is bad for people’s health, bad for the environment, and has no place in our sustainable energy future.

“Significant amounts of emissions could be prevented and reduced if operators would just use state of the art techniques available to them instead of arguing about exemptions. Environmental standards for power plants should first serve to protect the people and the environment in Europe and must be implemented swiftly to do so.”

The report argues that the reliance on coal of some EU member states risks undermining the EU’s climate ambitions and calls the rapid phase out of CO2 emissions from coal to become a priority.

Kathrin Gutmann, coal policy officer at CAN Europe, commented, “Coal-fired power plants are the single biggest global source of greenhouse gas emissions. CO2 emissions from coal in the EU are still far too high, as shown by the EU’s ‘dirty 30 power plants’. The EU needs to tackle coal head on, if it wants to successfully meet its own long term climate targets.”

Photo: John Nyberg via Freeimages

Further reading:

India to fund renewable project by doubling tax on coal

Thermal coal investments ‘high risk strategy’, say analysts

National Grid ‘underestimated threat of coal’, says WWF

Rhino threatened by coal mine plans in South Africa

Coal extraction in India threatens livelihoods and forests


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