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12/12/2022 – Climate / Emissions / Germany / Coal / Carbon / EU / Europe / Kayrros

German coal burning drives up EU emissions despite industry standstill
German coal burning drives up EU emissions despite industry standstill

European carbon footprints continue to climb despite the recession’s impact on industrial activity. Across the continent, total regulated carbon emissions have jumped by around 20 per cent in the last four weeks, with German coal plants leading the rise in EU power emissions. 


Using earth observation technology, global climate technology company Kayrros has identified that while European industrial output has fallen in line with the recession and Russian gas supply constraints, carbon emissions continue to climb throughout the continent.


While emissions from gas-fired power plants have been in decline across Europe since mid-October, EU coal-fired power generator use rose significantly in November, bringing emissions to their highest level since March.


German coal plants alone accounted for half the rise in EU power-sector emissions in November, and nearly 45 per cent of the increase in overall EU regulated carbon emissions.



Kayrros – a global climate technology company and a world leader in environmental intelligence – this month won the FT Tech Champions award for their use of AI and satellite data analysis to help companies and governments fast-track their efforts to reduce their climate footprint.


Germany U-turned on its ambitions to phase out all coal-generated electricity by 2038 earlier this year, following the invasion of Ukraine. Politicians hope coal burning will replace gas-fired electricity, much of which was imported from Russia prior to the war.


“The worst of both worlds”



“Europe is currently experiencing the worst of both worlds. Industry has been hit hard by the hike in energy prices, but in part because companies have changed their fuel mix from gas to coal, emissions are going up as well. This has exacerbated the rise in emissions typical of this time of year,” observed Antoine Rostand, CEO and President of Kayrros.

“It’s thanks to being able to monitor changes in emissions in near real time that we can pick out the distinct elements in this complex picture and identify opportunities to bring emissions down,” he continued. “What’s clear is that, in the face of rising emissions caused by space heating, both demand-side measures, such as turning down the thermostat, and supply-side measures, such as boosting renewables, could help.”


Smaller coal-dependent EU economies contributed most of the remainder of the increase in EU carbon emissions this month.



Polish and Czech coal power plants together accounted for one-fourth of the increase in EU coal sector emissions this month, and 22 per cent of the overall increase in EU carbon emissions.

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