A District Court judge in Poland demanded that the operators of the Bełchatów power plant start negotiating with environmental law charity Client Earth to accelerate the plant’s closure and find a solution within three months.
It is a landmark declaration that follows last year’s decision of Client Earth to launch a legal challenge against Bełchatów and two of its mines.
“This decision is a major breakthrough for the environmental movement,” commented Marcin Stoczkiewicz, Head of ClientEarth’s Central and Eastern Europe operation. “It puts environmental experts at the table with coal companies, to find a solution that genuinely works for the climate.”
Bełchatów is the world’s largest lignite-fired power station, burning 45 million tonnes of lignite every year. In other words, an entire tonne every second. Over its lifetime, the plant has emitted approximately 1 billion tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere, making it the largest single greenhouse gas emitter in Europe.
Client Earth is demanding that the plant operators stop burning lignite in the plant – or take measures to eliminate its CO2 emissions – by 2035 at the latest.
“Bełchatów Power Plant has provided Poland with vital power for decades but times have changed,” continued Mr Stoczkiewicz. “The largest emitters, like Belchatow, must shoulder their share of responsibility for the climate crisis. Without a rapid coal phase-out, the climate fight will be futile.”