EU's dirtiest emitters

Analysis by Ember of emissions recorded in the EU-ETS in 2022 reveals that the ten largest emitters are all coal plants, with Germany and Poland dominating the list.

Germany and Poland responsible for two thirds of coal power emissions, with coal in turn responsible for more than 60 per cent of power sector emissions in the EU-ETS in 2022. Coal power emissions rose 6 per cent compared to 2021 but remained below 2019 levels. But the good news is that the long-term trend of coal power emissions remains one of decline, with values in 2022 40 per cent lower than a decade ago.

The IEA Net Zero Pathway states advanced economies must end coal generation by 2030. Many EU Member States have already announced phase out dates in line with this, leaving a limited few such as Poland and Bulgaria at risk of isolating themselves as their neighbours transition towards a clean power sector.

"Coal plants are the repeat offenders of the EU’s dirty list. The faster Europe can get off coal power the better. A few countries and companies are responsible for the lion's share of Europe's power sector emissions. Some are making strides towards cutting their coal dependency. The rest risk being left behind if they do not change course soon,” said Harriet Fox Energy and climate data analyst at Ember.

In total, the top ten emitting plants in the 2022 EU-ETS released 175 Mt CO2e into the atmosphere in 2022, accounting for almost one quarter of power sector emissions in the EU-ETS. The plants are spread over just three countries – six in Germany, three in Poland and one in Bulgaria. The Bulgarian plant Maritsa East 2 rejoined the top 10 for the first time since 2019 with the largest year-on-year emissions increase of 60 per cent, equivalent to an extra 4 million tonnes of CO2e. The only other new entry came from the Polish plant Turów, where an additional unit added mid-way through 2021 pushed up emissions.

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