Press briefing from 1st April 2014

New data released by the European Commission today for the EU emissions trading scheme reveals the ten largest carbon emitters in Europe for 2013[1]. Five of the ten installations – all of which are coal or lignite fired power stations – are in Germany, with a further two (Drax and Eggborough) in the UK, one in Greece and one in Italy. But the title for biggest emitter goes to Poland’s Elektrownia Bełchatów power station, emitting 12% more than its next competitor.

At 5GW of capacity, it is the largest thermal power station in Europe, and the fourth largest fossil fuelled power station in the world. It provides around a fifth of Poland’s power.

Each of these installations emits more carbon pollution than some EU Member States. Slovenia confirmed emissions of 36 million tonnes in its last report to the UNFCCC, and Malta reported just 5.8 million tonnes[2]. Taken together, all ten installations have emissions roughly equivalent to those of Romania.[3]

Top ten 2013 emitters table

Damien Morris, Head of Policy at Sandbag comments:

“The concentration of European greenhouse gas emissions in just a small handful of installations reveals some of the clearest opportunities for cost-effectively reducing our emissions. Curbing emissions in the largest coal and lignite fired power stations, and replacing these with cleaner energy sources will yield massive environmental returns.

The EU ETS was supposed to drive this transition, but chronic oversupply issues have destroyed incentives. Unless billions of allowances are cancelled from the scheme, targeted new measures will need to be introduced.”


[1] New data released on the DG Clima website at noon CEST today

[2]UNFCCC_v14 spreadsheet downloaded from the European Environment Agency. Last reported year is 2011.

[3] Ibid. Romania reported emissions of 213 million in 2011