29 November 2019

Relapsing

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Fortum buying into Uniper makes it one of Europe’s most polluting power companies

Finnish state-owned power generator Fortum has become one of Europe’s 10 worst polluting power companies through its acquisition of the coal-fired assets of Uniper, based on health impact modeling by the Greenpeace Global Air Pollution Unit.

This report finds that Fortum, through its new near majority ownership of Uniper, is taking on responsibility for coal plants that caused an estimated 316 premature deaths and EUR340 million in health costs in 2016 alone. Since the latest available data is from 2016, before Fortum had invested in Uniper, Fortum’s new responsibility can only be calculated from then.

This modelling shows that through its newly increase stake in Uniper, Fortum will be taking on responsibility for a modelled 131 new cases of chronic bronchitis, and 5,418 asthma symptom days in children annually, and the mentioned 316 premature deaths. This leads to an estimated 5,419 hospital admissions and 229 lost working days. The calculations are adjusted to Fortum’s most recently announced ownership of Uniper (49.9% 1).

When the pollution caused by Uniper is accounted towards Fortum’s own emissions, it becomes one of the most polluting companies in Europe. This is hardly surprising as Germany, Uniper’s home base, is struggling to break its addiction to coal on a fast enough trajectory. Furthermore, while Fortum’s business strategy is rooted in clean energy solutions, the company still has several polluting coal assets of its own that have adverse health impacts also in Finland and beyond. With these results, Fortum becomes the ninth most polluting power company within the ‘toxic ten’ coal polluters identified in the report Last Gasp.

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