German Coal Power Plants Are Europe’s Most Climate-Damaging

Jul 22, 2014 11:26 am ET

July 22 (Bloomberg) -- Germany has some of Europe’s most ambitious climate targets. It also has four of the region’s five dirtiest power plants.

While PGE SA’s Belchatow lignite unit in Poland was Europe’s dirtiest last year, with 37.2 million metric tons of CO2 emissions, the next four are in Germany, according to a study published today by environmental groups including WWF.

Germany, the region’s biggest energy market, seeks to generate most of its power from renewable sources by 2035 and aims to reduce its greenhouse-gas emissions by 40 percent by the end of the century. RWE AG’s Neurath and Niederaussem lignite plants emitted 33.3 million tons and 29.6 million tons, respectively. The Jaenschwalde and Boxberg plants in eastern Germany, owned by Vattenfall AB, were next with 25.4 million tons and 21.9 million tons.

“Germany uses more coal to generate electricity than any other EU country,” even though it’s among the European Union’s “self-declared climate champions,” said the authors of the report, dubbed Europe’s Dirty 30. “For the EU and its member states to meet their climate targets, the share of coal in the EU’s electricity generation mix must decline rapidly.”