Photo: ©Lukasz Pawel Szczepanski /

Bełchatów most harmful to health and climate

A scientific report in Nature has ranked European industrial facilities by toxicity and global warming potential. The European facility with the largest contribution to both human toxicity and climate impact is Bełchatów, a coal-fired power station that is part of Poland’s largest energy sector company.  Germany's largest remaining lignite-fired power plant, Neurath, came second in both rankings. And just a few kilometres away from Neurath is another lignite-fired power plant, Niederaussem, that ranks third on climate impact. Third on the human toxicity ranking is however the Estonian oil power plant in Narva, where the oil is extracted from oil shale. The rankings are based on data from 2017.
Overall, the companies in the electricity production sector have the largest human toxicity impact potential (46% of total) and the largest global warming impact potential (50%), while companies in the sewerage sector have the largest ecotoxicity impact potential (50%).

Erhart, S., Erhart, K. Environmental ranking of European industrial facilities by toxicity and global warming potentials. Sci Rep 13, 1772 (2023).



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