Europe’s worst polluters revealed

As national governments and the EU fail to report crucial information on industrial pollution, a new NGO database shows which facilities are playing by the rules. The “Industrial Plant Data Viewer” allows users to access and compare data from over 3000 large combustion plants across the EU, and check whether they are doing their job to prevent pollution. It was launched by the European Environmental Bureau (EEB) to help fill the transparency gap in EU industrial emissions reporting.

“It is the European Commission’s job to ensure that EU laws are properly enforced, and that industrial pollution data are disclosed. If they are serious about their ambition for zero pollution and a toxic-free environment, they cannot turn a blind eye,” said Christian Schaible, the EEB’s policy manager in charge of the project.

The EEB has repeatedly highlighted the limitations of the EU reporting system, and provided recommendations for the Commission and the European Environment Agency (EEA) to fill the gap. Due to inertia by the two institutions, the EEB decided to develop its own database through in-house research.

Work will continue on development of the Industrial Plant Data Viewer to cover more countries, as well as including new modules to check and compare the impact of industrial pollution on water, not to mention the level of implementation of Best Available Techniques. Users are encouraged to contribute data, documents, comments, and corrections where data is missing or appears incorrect in the viewer. For the development team, such contributions will allow the database to offer more updated and reliable information, taking Europe a step closer to fact-based and transparent reporting.

Source: EEB Meta, 10 September 2020. Link to the Industrial Plant Data Viewer: http://eipie.eu/projects/ipdv

In this issue

Editorial

The clock is ticking to achieve the 1.5°C goal of the Paris Agreement. To be clear right from the start: this goal deserves every effort that mankind can pull off. In the name of realism, this is the goal we must focus on now, given the current level of progress in reducing greenhouse gases. However, damage to marine ecosystems will not be avoided even if we reach this goal1. In fact, damage already occurs at current levels of warming, as evidenced by the bleaching of coral reefs2. This may be an inconvenient truth when our current goal is 1.5°C.

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