London: Today Sandbag joins a new civil society movement to end coal in Europe before 2030.  Civil society groups across 28 nations are today launching Europe Beyond Coal, a collective campaign to catalyse the move away from coal and towards clean energy.

Sandbag is tightly integrated into the Europe Beyond Coal campaign, bringing in our leading expertise in data gathering, data analysis and data visualisation.

Working alongside the Europe Beyond Coal team, we have helped deliver for today’s launch:

  • Data gathering


      • A free-to-use Excel download is available of all the details you (n)ever wanted to know about Europe’s coal plants.  It has taken 2 years to build and develop the database, and the EBC team have a process to ensure it will always be up to date.


  • Data analysis


      • The modelled health impact from the latest 2015 pollution data of each of Europe’s coal plants.  The modelled results added together show there were 19,500 premature deaths from the EU’s coal plants in 2015, with a total economic cost of up to €54 billion.
      • The climate impact of coal.  18% of the EU’s greenhouse gasses are emitted by coal power plants.  This compares the latest UNFCCC data for 2015 to the actual verified emissions of coal power plants from the EU’s Emission Transaction Log in every country.


  • Data visualisation


    • A “coal power plant data dashboard”, visualising all the data available in the Excel download to make it more accessible and understandable.
    • A video of pollution in 2015.  The video shows why pollution from coal power plants should concern us all.



Just this month Italy has announced a coal phase-out, joining the governments of the United Kingdom, Finland, France, Portugal and the Netherlands all committing these countries to being coal-free by 2030 at the latest.

International Energy Agency (IEA) modelling shows Europe and other OECD countries need to have phased-out all unabated coal power by 2030. Not a single one of Europe’s 293 existing coal plants can remain in just over a decade.

Clear plans are particularly pertinent for countries like Germany, whose coal use is making it the worst greenhouse gas polluter in Europe and preventing it from meeting its climate objectives. Germany’s coal plants were responsible for an estimated 3,800 premature deaths and up to €10.5 billion in health costs inside and outside its borders in 2015.

Underscoring the need for this urgent shift, new health impact modelling released by the campaign shows that in 2015 the EU’s coal fleet alone was responsible for an estimated 19,500 premature deaths and 10,000 cases of chronic bronchitis in adults. The health costs of coal are equally staggering, with up to €54 billion in the same one year period.[1]

“Momentum is building for Europe to be coal free by 2030, and civil society is coming together to make it happen, and happen sooner,” said Kathrin Gutmann, Europe Beyond Coal Campaign Director. “For nations to meet their commitments under the Paris climate agreement and to protect the wellbeing of its citizens, coal plants need to be closing far faster than they currently are. A coal plant in any one country is a liability for all of Europe, and our planet as a whole.”


Dave Jones, Analyst at Sandbag, commented:

Focusing on phasing out coal is the ultimate quick-win to cheaply and aggressively reduce CO2 emissions and air pollution. Rapid change can be daunting, but many countries, like the UK, have already found that phasing out coal without disruption is not only technically and economically achievable, but hugely beneficial across society.”



1) More analysis and detailed data available at We have the most complete, comprehensive, up-to-date set of data on the entire European coal power plant fleet, covering all EU-28, Western Balkans, and Turkey. All information comes from a combination of official sources and national campaign groups and is provided in an open source, “share alike” format.


2) Countries where Europe Beyond Coal groups are active: Albania, Austria, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czechia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden,Turkey, United Kingdom.


About Europe Beyond Coal

Europe Beyond Coal is an alliance of civil society groups working to catalyse the closures of coal mines and power plants, prevent the building of any new coal projects and hasten the just transition to clean, renewable energy and energy efficiency. A similar, sister campaign by the Sierra Club in the US has been running for a number of years now, and has led to 263 announced coal plant closures – more than half of the entire US fleet. These closures continue in spite of the Trump administration’s pro-coal agenda. Our groups seek to replicate this success in Europe, and are devoting their time, energy and resources to this independent campaign to make Europe coal free by 2030 or sooner.