Exposing the role of coal in Europe – launch of European Coal Map
There is now a comprehensive overview of existing and planned coal power plants that also displays key information on pollution and health impact, presented by the Climate Action Network (CAN).
Despite its claim of being a leader in the fight against climate change, the European Union still has around 280 coal power plants, operating in 22 different EU member states. The majority of these plants are more than 30 years old, meaning they are inefficient, polluting and outdated. Burning coal caused 17 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions in the European Union in 2014. Still, European countries continue to invest tens of billions in the ailing industry.
Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe exposes these shocking and disturbing facts on the coal business in the online Coal Map of Europe (www.coalmap.eu). Based on extensive research into Europe’s non-transparent coal fleet and using a range of public data sources, CAN Europe has calculated key figures on the coal industry. The NGO has visualised the most crucial aspects of the story of coal power in eight different maps.
For the first time there is now a full and comprehensive overview of the fleet of existing and planned coal power plants that also displays key information on pollution and health impacts from burning coal. The Coal Map also highlights how governments are still heavily involved in this industry through state-owned companies, as well as by providing enormous subsidies.
The Coal Map introduces fifteen reports of local and national fights against coal power plants and mines. From Scotland to Turkey, citizens and NGOs are tied in lengthy legal battles to get rid of coal. And not without success: in recent years, the majority of new coal project proposals have been cancelled.
The local fight is quickly turning into a pan-European story against coal. In Italy an operating power plant was shut down on court orders in March 2014, on the basis of manslaughter. Legal experts in the Czech Republic managed to link the fate of the islands of Micronesia to upgrading a power plant in the country. In Germany, the debate on phasing out coal is no longer about if, but about when and how. Norway’s parliament decided that the Norwegian Sovereign Wealth fund is to divest from several coal businesses across the world, after months of international protests.
“European countries are still addicted to coal for the production of electricity, but opportunities for phasing out coal altogether have never been better,” says Kathrin Gutmann, Coal Policy Coordinator at CAN Europe. “Renewables are booming and energy demand is going down, so utilities are already losing billions of euros a year on their coal assets. Therefore we need more governments to act now and get rid of coal. Coal really is the low-hanging fruit in the fight against climate change. If the EU wants to be a leader in the international climate negotiations, then coal will have to go.”
Source: CAN Europe Pressrelease