'Dirty Thirty' named and shamed

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Ten of the Europe's thirty most polluting power stations are in the UK, a new report from the World Wildlife Fund has revealed.

Emissions from these ten power plants rose by nearly eight per cent last year, with CO2 levels from some rising as much as 24 per cent.

The authors of the report, 'The Dirty Thirty', say that this increase implies a return to coal as a fuel of choice.

The much-picketed Drax power station, in Yorkshire, was top of the 'Dirty Thirty' list, emitting a staggering 22.7 million tonnes of carbon dioxide in 2006, up nearly a tenth on its output in 2005.

Dr Keith Allott, Head of Climate Change at WWF-UK, said:
'The UK's welcome attempts to show international leadership on climate change are being undermined by the dismal failure to cut our own emissions – or to reverse our increasing reliance on coal, the most polluting energy source of all.'

Allott said that whilst the UK is on course to meet its Kyoto Protocol targets - thanks to a switch-over to gas-fired power stations in the early nineties known as the 'dash for gas' - the country is now on a 'roll to coal', which will have 'profound environmental implications.'

WWF called for an moratorium on new coal power plants unless they were built with carbon capture and storage technology, which would enable them to bury their emissions underground.

This article first appeared in the Ecologist May 2007