Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?


Air Quality

EU Power Plant Rules Mostly Written By Industry Lobbyists

In The Guardian, Arthur Neslen and Rob Evans recently wrote that new rules intended to combat air pollution from EU power plants could be weaker than coal standards currently in place in China, a nation both ashamed of and reviled for its poor urban air quality. A Greenpeace study has found that the new pollution limits the European Union is discussing for large industrial and power plants are several times weaker than what the best performing plants have managed to do in other developed economies, including the US and Japan.

Coal-fired power plant in Romania (, creative commons)

Lawrence Carter, a Greenpeace UK climate and energy campaigner, notes:

“Our investigation further reveals that what EU officials identify as the required ‘best available techniques’ to reduce harmful emissions would in reality allow several times more toxic pollution than those already adopted by many coal plant operators around the world. In other words, they are not the best available techniques. This is important, since the process of agreeing new pollution standards was set up to tackle” harmful health impacts of industrial emitters.

European Environment State and Outlook 2015 reportCarter also points out that the European Environment Agency reports that toxic fumes from the EU’s coal-fired generating stations caused an estimated 22,300 premature deaths in 2010. A separate study by the Health and Environment Alliance on the UK total alone saw over 1,500 deaths per year.

Apparently, industry lobbyists comprise over half (183 of 352) of the key official group formulating the new EU limits. Worse yet, in dozens of cases, staff members of coal firms are taking part in the process — not as formal industry representatives, but as official member state government delegates.

Carter called the situation “a classic case of allowing the fox to guard the henhouse.” Hans ten Berge, the secretary-general of Eurelectric, which represents Europe’s electricity companies, has stated the following:

“Looking at the potentially high number of power plants which we will still have to close and the very limited scope for investing in this area, I think it is logical that industry should have expressed a strong interest in keeping their ability to supply much-needed balancing power alive.”

In its report, Greenpeace implicates delegations from Britain, Poland, Czech Republic, Greece, Germany, France, and Spain in driving the limitation of proposed controls. In all, says The Guardian, EU states submitted more than 8,500 comments, a number considered “exceptional.” It’s too bad Europe looks to be setting up weak standards for coal plants, considering its important leadership in funding green international activities and forwarding Intended Nationally Determined Contributions to the UN’s proposed Paris climate accord.

I don't like paywalls. You don't like paywalls. Who likes paywalls? Here at CleanTechnica, we implemented a limited paywall for a while, but it always felt wrong — and it was always tough to decide what we should put behind there. In theory, your most exclusive and best content goes behind a paywall. But then fewer people read it! We just don't like paywalls, and so we've decided to ditch ours. Unfortunately, the media business is still a tough, cut-throat business with tiny margins. It's a never-ending Olympic challenge to stay above water or even perhaps — gasp — grow. So ...
If you like what we do and want to support us, please chip in a bit monthly via PayPal or Patreon to help our team do what we do! Thank you!
Sign up for daily news updates from CleanTechnica on email. Or follow us on Google News!

Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.

Written By

covers environmental, health, renewable and conventional energy, and climate change news. She's currently on the climate beat for Important Media, having attended last year's COP20 in Lima Peru. Sandy has also worked for groundbreaking environmental consultants and a Fortune 100 health care firm. She writes for several weblogs and attributes her modest success to an "indelible habit of poking around to satisfy my own curiosity."


You May Also Like

Clean Transport

Originally published on Transport & Environment. By Sam Hargreaves The emissions of new vans have not decreased in three years due to weak CO2 targets,...

Air Quality

Joint statement on behalf of Transport & Environment and the Clean Cities Campaign

Policy & Politics

Erna Solberg, the Prime Minister of Norway, will open the 11th Trondheim CCS Conference (TCCS-11) set to take place June 22–23, 2021. The international...

Clean Transport

Originally published on Transport & Environment By Eoin Bannon With the review of the EU CO₂ emissions standards for cars and vans scheduled for...

Copyright © 2023 CleanTechnica. The content produced by this site is for entertainment purposes only. Opinions and comments published on this site may not be sanctioned by and do not necessarily represent the views of CleanTechnica, its owners, sponsors, affiliates, or subsidiaries.