UK & Germany host Europe’s most polluting coal plants

Many of Europe’s biggest emitters of greenhouse gases are in the UK and Germany according to a new study of carbon emissions from EU coal plants last year.

The study found that 18 out of Europe’s 30 most carbon intensive were in the two countries. Germany, Poland and the UK made up the top three consumers of coal in the EU (see their map here).

The report by CAN Europe, WWF, the European Environmental Bureau, the Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) and Climate Alliance Germany comes as EU leaders prepare to negotiate the next round of climate and energy targets and negotions continue over new air quality standards for coal.

Many of the 30 biggest emitters of carbon dioxide are also have the largest emissions of other pollutants with possible impacts on health and air quality.

Health impacts

A previous analysis by Greenpeace/Unearthed found more than 50 coal plants across Europe could have caused greater health impacts than a power station in Italy temporarily closed as part of a manslaughter investigation into the health impact of its emissions.

The analysis  was based on 2010 EU-wide data which revealed coal plants currently operating around Europe could have contributed towards 22,000 premature deaths in 2010 – according to a study by the University of Stuttgart and Greenpeace. The number refers to the amount of theoretical deaths which could be caused as a result of the health impacts.