Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Germany - the Dirty Man of Europe

A new interactive map shows how CO2 emissions in Germany are once again on the increase. In the first two decades of this century Germany has produced the most carbon dioxide emissions of any country in the European Union. The main reason for this is that Germany is heavily reliant on coal for electricity generation. Germany aims to become carbon-neutral by 2045 however the war in Ukraine has had a significant impact on Germany's continuing reliance on coal power plants.

The EU Power Plant Emissions map uses the latest EU Emissions Trading System data to visualize the amount of carbon dioxide emitted by countries in the European Union (and also Switzerland, Norway, Iceland & Liechtenstein). The map shows that the highest levels of CO2 from power plants originate in Eastern European countries and Germany - with coal power plants being the major culprits.

If you hover over any of the power plants on the map you can view the levels of CO2 emitted by the plant in each year. If you hover over any of the coal power plants in Germany then you are likely to see a reduction in CO2 between 2017 and 2020. One reason for this increase is Russia's invasion of Ukraine. In an effort to reduce its dependence on Russian gas, Germany has temporarily reopened decommissioned and soon-to-be decommissioned coal power plants. This has resulted in the country once again increasing its CO2 emissions from coal-fired power plants.

Last year coal power plants were responsible for 60% of power sector emissions in the EU-ETS. Germany and Poland accounted for two thirds of all the CO2 emissions from coal power plants. 

Beyond Fossil Fuels has an interactive map showing the locations of coal power plants in Europe. On the map you can see that there are far more coal power plants in Eastern Europe (including Germany) than in the west of the continent. Beyond Fossil Fuels has also created an animated map which shows the amount of carbon dioxide from coal power plants produced by European countries since 2005.

From the animated map (shown above) you can see that most countries in Europe have actually significantly reduced the amount of carbon dioxide emitted by coal power plants. The major exceptions being Poland and Germany.

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