Fossil emissions contrast with increased green spending

Chief Europe Correspondent
Chart of EU coal plants top emitters in 2022
Source: Ember • Each bar refers to different power plants in the countries.

Two separate studies out in recent days underscore the stark contrast on display in our energy systems: Coal’s persistent dominance and green energy’s rise.

On the one hand, coal power plants were the European Union’s top ten largest greenhouse gas emitters last year. Yet, globally, investments in clean energy technologies are significantly outpacing spending on fossil fuels.

The chart above, based on an analysis from climate think tank Ember, shows just six coal power plants in Germany, three in Poland and one in Bulgaria were responsible for a quarter of all the EU’s power sector emissions in 2022.

Indeed, global coal demand reached an all-time high last year, a May 25 report from the International Energy Agency found.

In that same report, though, the agency found that for every dollar invested in fossil fuels, about 1.7 dollars are now going into clean energy. Five years ago, this ratio was one-to-one. This year, investments in solar are set to eclipse investments in oil production for the first time.