Photo: Greenpeace Polska CC BY-ND

High costs of EU industrial air pollution

Air pollution and greenhouse gases from the larger industrial facilities cost the EU between €59 and €189 billion in 2012, according to a new report by the European Environment Agency (EEA). Half of these damage costs were caused by just 1 % of the industrial plants. Over the period 2008 - 2012 the estimated cost was at least €329 and possibly up to €1 053 billion.

The findings come from ‘Costs of air pollution from European industrial facilities – an updated assessment’ which evaluates a number of harmful impacts caused by air pollution including premature death, hospital costs, lost work days, health problems, damage to buildings and reduced agricultural yields. The EEA uses a range of cost estimates as there are several existing methods currently used by policy-makers to calculate associated damage costs.

The report also names the most damaging facilities in Europe and the costs in each country. Of the 30 individual facilities identified as causing the highest damage, 26 are power-generating facilities, mainly fuelled by coal and lignite and located predominantly in Germany and Eastern Europe. The report does not assess whether a facility’s emissions are consistent with its legal requirements to operate.

The report: http://www.eea.europa.eu/publications/costs-of-air-pollution-2008-2012