Coal pollution limits leave EU trailing behind China

Publication - April 9, 2015
An EU expert body has released new draft coal plant pollution limits that are weaker than existing standards in China, the United States and Japan. The draft has only marginal changes compared to information released by Greenpeace in March, exposing the capture of the EU process setting coal air pollution standards by the fossil fuels industry.

The EU is currently updating its air pollution limits for large industrial installations, including lignite and coal-fired power plants, under the Industrial Emissions Directive.

The decision-making process, also known as the “Seville process”, will define best available techniques (BAT), which will in turn determine binding limits for several toxic emissions, such as sulphur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx), mercury and particulate matter (PM2.5). On 1 April 2015, the EU expert body, known as the European IPPC Bureau, published the proposal that will be examined by an EU working group later this year, before formal adoption in early 2016. An earlier draft of this proposal was published in June 2013.

Greenpeace research revealed that the emission limits in this draft were weaker than requirements and emission rates of best-performing power plants already in existence in China, Japan and the United States. This briefing assesses the latest European IPPC bureau proposal and lays out Greenpeace policy recommendations.

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