06 Jun 2023, 13:14
Benjamin Wehrmann

Iron and steel plants top NGO’s “dirty thirty” list of most polluting industry facilities in Germany

Clean Energy Wire

Steel and iron production plants dominate in a list of the 30 most polluting industrial facilities in Germany that has been compiled by environmental NGO WWF together with the Institute for Applied Ecology (Öko-Institut). The plants included in “dirty thirty” list together released 58 million tonnes of CO2 emissions in 2022, equalling about one-third of all greenhouse gas emissions in the industry sector allowed under the country’s climate action law and eight percent of total emissions, WWF said. The first 13 slots in the list are all occupied by steel and iron plants, which together account for 47 percent of the country's industrial emissions covered by the European emissions trading system (ETS). The most polluting facility is a smeltery by producer ThyssenKrupp in the western German city of Duisburg, which emitted nearly eight million tonnes of CO2 in the past year, the NGO said. Cement and chemicals producers follow in the emissions ranking, with cement and lime production accounting for 25 percent of ETS industry emissions and chemicals production for 15 percent. “The industry sector is a heavyweight in CO2 emissions,” WWF Germany climate head Vivian Raddatz said. “Transforming it is one of the most important tasks for policymakers and businesses,” she argued, adding that “this so far has structurally not happened.” Raddatz said the government coalition must make good on its promise to provide a comprehensive strategy for the sector that goes well beyond the “dirty thirty” and delivers emissions reduction across the board. Another important measure would be ending the practice of issuing ETS allowances free of charge, which is currently planned only in 2034. “This is too late,” Raddatz said.

Industry decarbonisation is one of the key areas for the government to advance climate action across the economy. Replacing fossil fuels with green hydrogen and using carbon capturing procedures for unavoidable emissions are seen as essential elements of a decarbonisation strategy, alongside the ETS. The launch earlier this week of a new scheme of “climate contracts” for industrial companies ready to invest in emissions reduction has been hailed as a pioneering step by the government to bring about change in the sector.

All texts created by the Clean Energy Wire are available under a “Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence (CC BY 4.0)” . They can be copied, shared and made publicly accessible by users so long as they give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made.
« previous news next news »


Researching a story? Drop CLEW a line or give us a call for background material and contacts.

+49 30 62858 497

Journalism for the energy transition

Get our Newsletter
Join our Network
Find an interviewee