Air pollution Natural Large European industries continue to cause significant damage to the environment, climate and people’s health. However, according to an updated analysis from the European Environment Agency (EEA), The economic cost of this pollution has fallen by about a third in the last decade, This report, published just a few days ago, shows that only a small share of the most polluting facilities (many of them coal-fired power plants) cause half the total damage.
The 2024 update of the EEA report ‘Health and environmental costs of industrial air pollution in Europe’ presents the latest assessment of trends in the environmental and health consequences of industrial air pollution in Europe. The 10,000 largest facilities in Europe in the period 2012 to 2021, These facilities regularly report their emissions and pollutant data to the European Industrial Emissions Portal.
In 2021, the five Member States with facilities contributing the highest external costs were Germany, Poland, Italy, France and Spain, When costs are compared to GDP as an indicator of relative performance per unit of national economic output, the top five countries were Bulgaria, Poland, Estonia, Greece and Cyprus.
EEA analysis shows that the costs of air pollution caused by Europe’s largest industrial plants are quite high, averaging between €268 billion and €428 billion per year. In 2021, these costs amounted to about 2% of EU GDP, It turns out that very few of them, just one percent (107) of the most polluting industrial facilities (many of them coal-fired power plants) produced half of the total damage.
Costs reduced by 33% in a decade
However, the EEA analysis also shows that the environmental and health costs of European industry This has decreased by one third (-33%) between 2012 and 2021.
This is a huge decline thanks to the energy sector The European Union, which is responsible for the majority (about 80%) of this total decline, is largely due to policy initiatives taken by the EU to adopt the best available technologies and switch to renewable energy and clean fuels. the resulting.
and it’s the same The European Green Deal boosts European industry to become greener and more digital, The Industrial Emissions Directive has recently been reviewed and the new Industrial Emissions Portal Regulation (IEPR) has been approved, rules that aim to move large European industry towards decarbonisation, zero pollution, circular economy and innovation.
Furthermore, it is expected that Tightening EU Air Quality Directive Further support this strategy by bringing contamination limits closer to health guidelines set by the World Health Organization.
The EEA will publish a second Zero Pollution Monitoring and Outlook report in collaboration with the European Commission later this year. To highlight the challenges and opportunities in the EU’s energy transition, this year’s report will map the 100 most polluting large combustion plants (LCPs) in the EU.