Friday, 01 November 2019 07:07

Poland, Germany and Turkey – main polluters of Europe

Austria intends to reject coal-based generation next year, Caspian Energy News reports with reference to the Federal Ministry of Sustainable Development and Tourism of Austria.

According to the climate policy of the European Commission (EC), all member states of the European Union (EU) shall reduce carbon dioxide emission down to zero by 2050. The Paris agreement does not imply rejection of fossil fuel and limitation of carbon dioxide emission, but the countries must take measures to reduce emissions, carry out a technological upgrading and adapt to climate change. As an alternative for coal, the European Commission suggests to use renewable sources of energy and natural gas.

Nowadays, 12 countries have officially consented and set the time of step-by-step phase-out of coal combustion. In particular, Austria plans to fully cut the coal-based generation by 2020, France in 2021, Sweden – in 2022, Slovakia in 2023, Great Britain, Italy and Ireland in 2025,  the Netherlands and Finland in 2029,  Denmark and Portugal a year later.

Belgium stopped using coal as a fuel in 2016. The share of coal in fuel mixture of Great Britain totaled just 3% in 2019 (besides, during two weeks in May the country did not use coal at all). Slovakia was the last which joined the project. 

Despite a large list of countries, their yearly coal consumption is relatively minimal: this figure totaled just 25 million tonnes in 2018. But the three main fuel consumers in Europe are Germany, Poland and Turkey. According to BP, altogether they consumed 159.2 million tonnes through 2018.

Only Germany among them has already fixed the time of rejection of coal generation – 2038. Though, the government of the country has not formally approved the plan yet. Poland, the biggest coal consumer in the EU, and Turkey are not ready for taking this step yet.

Secretary of State in the Ministry of Environment Michał Kurtyka noted that Poland consuming coal for production of much of its electricity is seeking guarantees that EU’s funds will be directed towards regions and states with the highest emissions as an access to the capital is the major problem. 

According to estimates of the Polish Economic Institute, at least 10-20 billion Euros per year are needed for an efficiency of the EU Fund for a just transition needs during 2021-2027. For now, the budget committee of the European Commission has signed a proposal for an allocation of just 4.8 billion Euros.

Nevertheless, it will be much harder for such countries to resist the phase-out of coal-based power plants because of the growing pressure from price increase for hydrocarbons and toughening of requirements in regard to emissions.

According to BP’s survey dedicated to global energy consumption in 2018, the European countries consumed 307.1 million tonnes of coal. 

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